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Latin America and the United States resemble two 
neighbors who have long lived side by side, each too busy 
with private matters to take more than an indifferent if 
not hostile interest in the other. Recently we North 
Americans have been taking a broader interest in our 
neighbors. The building of the Panama Canal has di- 
rected our attention to the south. We have discovered 
that those vast unknown regions are inhabited by human 
beings worthy of being better known though their char- 
acter differ widely from our own. 

So great is our lack of acquaintance with our southern 
neighbors that few can say with ex-President Taft: — 
"I know the attractiveness of the Spanish American; I 
know his highborn courtesy; I know his love of art, his 
poet nature, his response to generous treatment, and I 
know how easily he misunderstands the thoughtless 
bluntness of an Anglo-Saxon diplomacy, and the too fre- 
quent lack of regard for the feelings of others that we have 
inherited." {The Independent, Dec. i8, 1913.) 

What ex-President Taft thus writes from personal 
experience, it is possible for others to learn by reading the 
books written by Spanish Americans. The main char- 
acteristics and trend of the Spanish-American mind are 
revealed in his literature. 

But shall we call Spanish-American writings literature? 
A professor in Argentina wished a few years ago to estab- 


lish a course for students in Spanish-American literature. 
The plan was opposed by Bartolome Mitre, ex-President 
of the republic and himself a poet and historian of the first 
rank, on the ground that such a thing did not exist. He 
held the view that mere numbers of books did not form a 
literature; though united by the bond of a common 
language, the printed productions of Spanish Americans 
had no logical union nor gave evidence of an evolution 
toward a definite goal. On the other hand, he admitted 
that their "literary productions might be considered, not 
as models but as facts, classified as the expression of their 
social life during three periods, the colonial epoch, the 
struggle for freedom, and the independent existence of the 
several republics." 

Such is the general plan adopted for this book. The 
conditions of life during the colonial period and the com- 
mon aim of the different countries during the revolutionary 
epoch gave a certain similarity to their literary produc- 
tions. Freedom won, however, each country pursued its 
own course in literature as in politics. 

These two are interdependent. Literature is often 
meaningless without an understanding of contemporary 
politics. Everywhere the literary expression of politics is 
found in journalism. In Spanish America it is found also 
in verse and fiction. So the broad lines of politics have 
been taken in this book as a guide through the maze of 

The judgment which one renders on the value of Spanish- 
American literature depends entirely on the point of view 
with which the critic approaches its study. If he considers 
it a branch or sub-order of Spanish literature, he will reach 


conclusions similar to those of the late Marcelino Menen- 
dezy Pelayo in his Historiade la Poesia Hispano-americana. 
To him as a Spaniard the exuberance of American pa- 
triotic verse is not only detestable but bad literature. To 
his mind only those productions have worth which ap- 
proximate the standard set by Spanish classics. 

Another critic has observed the frank imitadon of 
French models. It is true that Spanish-American writers 
in their eagerness to reject Spain have taken France 
as the intellectual leader of their Latin America. The 
term Latin-American republics which they prefer has the 
justification of permitting the inclusion of Portuguese- 
speaking Brazil and an easy absorption of the numerous 
Italian element of Argentina. Moreover, it makes possible 
a claim of kinship with admired France. But a critic who 
attempts to set forth the literature of Latin America 
wholly on the basis of its relation to French literature will 
miss both its significance and its originality. 

Both spring from the history and language of the Latin- 
American republics. The language of Spanish America is 
not only permeated with terms and expressions taken from 
its daily life but also differs in pronunciation and structure 
from the Castilian even more than the English of North 
America from the educated speech of England. As to the 
originality of Spanish-American literature it lies chiefly in 
the subject-matter, in its pictures of natural scenery and 
social life. 

From the moment of their discovery of America the 
Spaniards were amazed at the great rivers, the lofty 
Andes mountains, the luxuriance of tropical vegetation. 
And when they expressed their amazement in literary 


form, Virgil was their model. To the participants in the 
conquest of the new world their enterprise resembled the 
deeds of knight errantry related by Ariosto. So in imita- 
tion of his art they often wrote down the story of their 
exploits in poems in which truth sometimes paid tribute to 
form. In the nineteenth century, when the reconstruction 
of the past became the popular literary fashion under the 
influence of romanticism, the legends of the colonial period 
supplied the poet with ample material. Later, when 
naturalistic fiction came into vogue, ambitious followers of 
Zola in Spanish America found ready at hand a novel 
type of society to portray. Thus the form of Latin- 
American literature has been imitative while the matter 
is original. 

For an English-speaking American then who desires a 
better acquaintance with the mentality of his Spanish- 
American neighbors this book will offer a guide. The 
literature of Brazil written in Portuguese and so rich as to 
require a volume almost as large as the present for its 
adequate exposition, is therefore not included. The reader, 
aware at the outset that he has before him an extremely 
provincial type of literature, will not expect great master- 
pieces. On the other hand, he will learn what effect has 
been produced on the transplanted Spaniard by living on 
the great plains of Argentina. He will better comprehend 
the difference between the sober energetic Chilean and the 
fun-loving Peruvian or the passionate Venezuelan. He 
will understand why there have been so many revolutions 
in Mexico. The anecdotes of poets* lives and the tragic 
stories of men who have lived and died for an ideal will 
inspire him with greater respect for a country which like 


Cuba struggled a whole century for its freedom. Even the 
names of the various writers, the constantly recurring 
Jose Maria, Joaquin, Manuel, will impress him with the 
deeply religious sentiments of these peoples. 

The difficulty of preparing this book has been great. 
Only two really valuable collections of works by Spanish- 
American authors exist in this country, one in the library 
of the Hispanic Society of America, the other in the library 
of Harvard University. Both are far from being complete, 
but fortunately they supplement each other. Histories of 
the literatures of the several countries have been written 
by natives only of Argentina, Venezuela and Uruguay, and 
these are defective in many ways. The dates of the births 
and deaths of the writers, for example, are not always 
given. Spanish Americans in treating the literatures of 
their own countries usually include a consideration of 
historical writings, but the limits of this book allow only a 
casual mention of the most important works of purely 
historical or scientific content. Periodicals, on the other 
hand, have demanded attention because, as the means of 
immediate publicity for literary endeavor, they have often 
played a considerable role in literary history and now sup- 
ply the investigator with much material. 

On account of the character of his sources of informa- 
tion, not always reliable, the author of the present volume 
may have wrongly estimated the work of any given writer 
or even omitted mention of some whom a compatriot may 
deem important. Any grievous errors either of judgment 
or of omission should therefore be condoned. 

The author wishes here to thank for their kind assistance 
in various ways Sefior Paul Groussac, the learned librarian 


of the national library at Buenos Aires, Seiior Carlos de 
Velasco, editor of the excellent review Cuba Contempo- 
raneay Seiior Pedro Henriquez Urefia, critic and formerly 
professor at the University of Mexico, Senor Max Hen- 
riquez Urefia, poet and essayist, Doctor Gonzalo Picon 
Febres, novelist and advocate of Americanism in litera- 
ture, the late Dr. W. R. Martin, librarian of the Hispanic 
Society of America, and Professor E. C. Hills. To J. D. M. 
Ford, Smith professor of literature in Harvard University, 
the author is indebted for the suggestion, which led to the 
writing of this book. 

New York, 191 6. 



I. The Colonial Period i 

II. The Revolutionary Period 39. 

III. The Revolutionary Period in North America . . 79 

IV. Argentina .^ 104 

V. Uruguay 169 

VI. Chile 196 

VII. Peru and Bolivia 244 

VIII. Ecuador 264 

IX. Colombia 273 

X. Venezuela 305 

XL Mexico 334 

XII. Cuba 373 

XIII. Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, Central America 431 

XIV. The Modernista Movement 450 

Bibliography 477 

Index of Names 483 





Spanish enterprise on the American continent had for 
its participants the nature of a conquest. Trained on the 
battle fields of Italy under leaders who had assisted Fer- 
dinand of Aragon to expel from Spanish soil the last of the 
Moorish invaders, they carried across the Atlantic the 
ideals of the successful soldier. A mere handful of them so 
well protected by steel armor against the weapons of the 
natives and so able to inspire terror in their opponents by 
means of their horses and the flash and roar of their mus- 
ketry was enough to win an empire. When a common 
Spanish soldier could rise to the possession of immense 
wealth and hold sway over millions of human beings, a 
new world had certainly been discovered. To Spaniards 
no other name was so fitting for this continent as that by 
which it was constantly called, "el Nuevo Mundo," The 
New Worid. 

They were not actuated, however, merely by the lure of 
gold. A religious fanaticism carried them like crusaders 
into unknown dangers. Wherever they went their first 
care was to plant the cross. So early as Columbus' second 
voyage thirteen monks sailed with him for the purpose of 


converting the natives to Christianity. Thus the monastic 
establishment became an integral part of every consider- 
able Spanish settlement. To the honor of the monks and 
priests be it said that, having the natives as their especial 
care, they made heroic efforts to protect the poor wretches 
from the rapacity of the seekers after gold. 

Columbus selected for permanent settlement on account 
of its gold mines the island which he named Hispaniola, 
now called Santo Domingo or Haiti. For many years it 
received a considerable immigration of men of substance 
coming to America with their families, though many later 
proceeded farther west. After the discovery of the main- 
land the two most important centers of Spanish civiliza- 
tion in America became Mexico City and Lima, La Ciudad 
de los Reyes, as it was named by its founder Francisco 
Pizarro, the conquistador of Peru. ^ 

The Aztec city of Tenochtitlah, developed and extended 
under the more pronounceable name of Mexico, was estab- 
lished by Heman Cortes as the capital of Nueva Espaiia. 
The name Mexico for the whole country was not adopted 
till after the separation from Spain. New Spain or Mexico 
on account of its geographical situation, its climate, its 
greater proximity to the mother country possessed during 
the golden period of Spanish literature a high degree of 
^culture. From those bibliographical manuals in rhyme, 
Cervantes' Fiaje de Parnaso and Lope de Vega's Laurel 
de A polo, written respectively in 1614 and 1630, one may 
learn how numerous were the versifiers and the dramatists 
who practiced the poetic art on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Peru also received a full contingent of men of letters, but 
on account of its greater wealth in gold and silver there 


were attracted thither more purely adventurous spirits. 
Among them were men of the highest Spanish nobility. 
And a transfer in a governmental position from Mexico 
to Peru was apparently regarded as a promotion. 

The government of the Spanish dominions in America 
was entrusted to viceroys assisted by a court or audiencia 
composed of several judges. At first Nueva Espaiia and 
Peru were the only viceroyalties, for outlying regions were 
administered by a member of the audiencia. It is needless 
to say that the holders of such responsible positions were 
men of education and culture. For their own entertain- 
ment the viceroys, if not always poets themselves as was 
sometimes the case, encouraged at their courts the produc- 
tion of literature. 

Even the first explorers were often men of literary 
y^ attainments. The letters of Columbus and the reports of 
Cortes to their monarchs are well known. Similar cartas 
(kjrelacion were returned to Spain from almost every ex- 
pedition, so that fe w_events in history have been more 
fully covered by a written record than the Spanish con- 
quest of America. These accounts of exploration and 
adventure have value not only as historical documents of 
prime importance but as literary productions. With due 
allowance for differences in style and point of view one 
may say that their writers had as keen an appreciation of 
sensational effect as any modem war correspondent. 

Close at the heels of the men at arms came friars who 

made it their business to gather at first hand materials for 

their writings. The most famous of these is Fray Bar- 

^tolome de las Casas whose Historia de las Indias was 

written especially for the purpose of voicing an indignant 


protest against the treatment of the Indians at the hands 
of his fellow countrymen. Other historical compilations, 
like the narratives of the conquistadores, are so numerous 
that a consideration of them is beyond the limits of this 
book. They cover practically every phase of Spanish 

Another class of writers, some of whom were members of 
religious orders, consisted of men born in America who 
wrote with enthusiasm for love of their native soil. Special 
interest attaches to those who had in their veins blood of 
the conquered races. Having learned from their mothers 
the native language and moods, they were able to pen- 
etrate beneath the surface of the aboriginal mind and 

^ traditions. In Peru the IacaJaarcilas?9--deJ^JVega (1540- 
1616) owed his title to his ancestry, his mother being of 
the blood royal, granddaughter of Tupac Yupanqui and 
niece of Huayna Capac, and his celebrity to his Comen- 
tarios re ales, published as written in two parts in 1609 and 
1 61 6. As history the book is not absolutely reliable, but 
as entertaining literature it is unsurpassed by any other 
of the histories of Peru. Moreover, it presents within cer- 
tain limits the native point of view of the conquest, with 
many details of history and manners which only a person 
with such an ancestry could give. 

A somewhat similar position in the history of Mexico 

X^ was held by Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl, a lineal de- 
scendant of the royal line of Tezcuco, who was employed 
by the viceroy as an interpreter. The results of his re- 
searches in native history, made early in the seventeenth 
century, were contained in various volumes of which the 
most important was entitled Historia Chichimeca. The 


subject of aboriginal writers in Mexico alone requires 
however several books for its complete exposition. 

Education and culture in America were fostered by two 
actions of the Spanish authorities, the establishment of 
universities and the introduction of the printing press, 
both the care of the clergy. The first book printed in 
America was the Breve y Compendiosa Doctrina Christiana ^ 
en lengua mexicana y castellana, 1539, by Fray Juan de 
Zumarraga, first bishop of Mexico. By a strange coin- 
cidence the first universities in America were both au- 
thorized by Charles the Fifth in the same year, 1551, to 
be established in Mexico and Lima. 

The printing of a book in the Spanish colonies was not a 
matter to be lightly undertaken, for it was a costly opera- 
tion. It was therefore enjoyed only by authors with 
money or wealthy patrons. For that reason many a poem 
of the early period has remained in manuscript. Recent 
interest in colonial history has brought to light some of 
these manuscripts. Doubtless many more still lie for- 
gotten in the dust of some library of Europe or America. 
One curious result of the expense attending the manufac- 
ture of a book is the fact that some of the best executed 
works, printed on the finest paper, and handsomely bound, 
are the most worthless from the point of view of literature. 
They contain the verses of occasion produced and recited 
at the exercises held to commemorate the death of a mon- • 


arch, the birth of a prince, or the induction into his office 
of some viceroy. Concerning the history of the printing 
in Spanish America certain bibliographers have performed 
a notable service, and recorded every printed work. 
The sixteenth century was preeminently a period when 



the love of adventure possessed the souls of men, and the 
literary expression of that spirit in its most artistic form 
is the Orlando furioso of Ariosto. In its complete form 
the poem was published in 1532, one year before the au- 
thor's death. By the middle of the century not only 
did metrical translations begin to appear in Spain but 
original heroic poems in the same metrical form became 
the fashion. Acknowledged by every critic to be the most 
successful of these epical compositions was Alonso de 
Ercilla y Zuiiiga's poem, La Araucana, based on per- 
sonal adventures in Chile. This was the first work of real 
literary merit composed in America. 

In our review of literature during the colonial period 
of Spanish America it is necessary to omit consideration 
of purely historical records. Yet histories of course make 
up the bulk of what was written about America and in 
America at this time. And even when the writer thought 
to embellish his story by putting it in metrical form, its 
value lies more in the historical facts than in its literary 
qualities. But the Araucana stands apart from the other 
poems of the same type both in its intrinsic worth and in 
its influence on Spanish-American literature even during 
the nineteenth century. Regarding it the Spanish literary 
historian Ferrer del Rio says, "It would be difficult to 
find a livelier impression of the Spanish sixteenth cen- 
tury, the great passions of Charles V and Phillip II, war, 
daring navigation, distant conquests, a love for the un- 
known and for adventures, religious sentiment and vener- 
ation for the sacred objects of worship." 

Alonso de Ercilla y Zufiiga (1533-94) was born in the 
same year that Ariosto died. The translations of the 


Orlando furioso became popular in Spain just before 
Ercilla set out for America. In fact Ercilla referred to 
Ariosto as one of his models; the imitation, however, was 
more general than particular, for Ercilla's episodes were 
chiefly historical facts, rather than poetical inventions. 
At the outset of his poem he announces that he does not 
intend to sing of ladies, love and chivalrous deeds which 
is quite contrary to Aristo who makes them the argument 
of his poem. Moreover, Ercilla in dedicating his work to 
Phillip II assured his monarch that it was a true relation; 
and to give weight to this assertion stated that the book 
was written in part during the war in Chile "often on 
leather for lack of paper and on bits of paper sometimes 
so small that they contained not more than six lines." 

Of highborn parentage Ercilla was attached at the age 
of fifteen to the suite of the prince Phillip and accompanied 
him in 1548 when he went to take possession of the duchy 
of Brabant. He traveled with the prince over Europe 
for the next six years and was with him in England in 
1554 when Phillip married Mary Tudor. In England 
Ercilla made the acquaintance of Geronimo de Alderete, 
just appointed adelantado of Chile, who was to sail with 
the new viceroy of Peru, Andres Hurtado de Mendoza. 
Ercilla, eager for the adventures in prospect, because news 
of the rebellion of the Araucanian Indians had reached 
Spain, joined the expedition and arrived at Lima in 1556. 
As the adelantado Alderete died on the way, the viceroy 
appointed his son Don Garcia to lead the army which 
should restore peace in Chile. After the war had been 
in progress for some time Ercilla had an unfortunate 
quarrel with a companion, Juan de Pineda. The facts 


are very obscure, but for some reason Don Garcia believed 
that the two men were conspiring against his authority. 
He condemned them both to be beheaded and the men were 
already on the scaffold before Don Garcia was persuaded 
to relent and commute their punishment to imprisonment. 
Not long thereafter Ercilla was released and allowed 
again to take part in the war. But he cherished such 
resentment against Don Garcia that he managed to leave 
Chile and return to Spain in 1562. There he found favor 
again with Phillip and high employment in business of 
state. In 1569 he published the first part, consisting of 
fifteen cantos, of his poem La Araucana. The second 
part in fourteen cantos he completed in 1578 and the third 
part of eight cantos in 1590. 

The plan of the poem is to narrate in strictly chrono- 
logical order events in Chile. The first twelve cantos 
deal with the raids of the Indians on the Spanish settle- 
ments and the numerous reprisals which occurred before 
Ercilla's arrival. As Ercilla wished to minimize Don 
Garcia de Mendoza's part in the war the heroes of the poem 
are not the minor Spanish leaders whom he occasionally 
mentions but the Indian chiefs. The most attractive of 
these is the young Lautaro. In depicting his life Ercilla, 
with a poetic defense of the role of love in human life, 
probably by way of apology for changing his intention 
not to sing of ladies, introduces the reader to Guacolda, 
Lautaro's beautiful wife. Lautaro is surprised at night 
by her side and slain. After his death the most important 
of the various Araucanian caciques is Caupolican. Of 
the Spaniards a certain common soldier Andrea and Er- 
cilla himself play the most prominent r61es. In fact 


Ercilla might be called the hero of the poem if one takes 
into account the amount of space devoted to his personal 

On the other hand, the poem contains certain long di- 
gressions from the main narrative. In part two by the 
machinery of a personal interview of the poet with the 
Goddess Bellona contemporary events in Europe, espe- 
cially Phillip's victories in Flanders, are recited. Even 
the naval victory of the Spaniards over the Turks at 
Lepanto, though subsequent in time to the period of the 
poem, is described as it was revealed to Ercilla through 
the agency of a magic ball belonging to an old magician 
whom he met in the mountains. In the third canto there 
is a long digression about Dido. Ercilla is requested by 
some soldiers to relate the true story of the famous queen 
who in his opinion has been much maligned. 

To the modem reader these digressions are blemishes, 
but at the time of the publication of the poem they very 
likely assisted in making it popular. The victories of 
their king and the naval fight at Lepanto were events of 
which the Spaniards were pleased to read stirring and 
poetic accounts. Against the background of the distant 
war in Chile they were enhanced as by perspective. The 
book, immediately and immensely popular, passed through 
more editions than any Spanish book of the century. 
The eloquent speeches which Ercilla put into the mouths 
of both Spaniards and Indians met the taste of his day. 
The same may be said of the realistic details of battles 
and other adventures, so realistic at times as to be grue- 
some and repugnant, for Ercilla's descriptive power was 
very great. On the other hand, the poem lacks certain 


elements of general human interest so that it is not very 
attractive to-day. It is too intensely Spanish in senti- 

Its local Chilean setting, however, has brought great 
popularity in Chile. Towns and localities have been 
named after the Indian heroes. In their war for inde- 
pendence Chilean orators and poets used to call them- 
selves "sons of Caupolican." The first war vessel of the 
Chilean navy was named "Lautaro." Episodes and in- 
cidents from the Araucana which is held to be almost a 
national poem, have been the inspiration of poems, 
novels and plays. 

After Ercilla's death a certain Diego de Santistevan 
Osorio, of whom nothing beyond what he tells of himself 
is known, published at Salamanca in 1597 a poem, La 
Araucana, Quarta y Quinta parte en que se prosigue y 
acaba la historia de D. Alonso de Ercilla. The adventures 
related appear to be wholly imaginary combats between 
the Indians and the Spaniards. 

Another poem, Arauco Domado, treating the same 
events in some sixteen thousand verses divided into 
nineteen cantos, was printed at Lima in 1596. The author 
was a native-born Chilean, Ee<iia_de._Qna,. the son of a 
Spanish captain fighting the Indians in southern Chile. 
He was sent to the University of San Marcos in Lima in 
1590. Two years later he took part in an expedition to 
Quito to quell an uprising. From this campaign he re- 
turned with much historical material and possibly the 
idea of putting into verse the deeds in the same region of 
Don Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza. 

In his poem Pedro de Oiia declared himself an imitator 


of Ercllla but made no pretension of competing with him. 
The Arauco Domado is in no sense a continuation of the 
Araucana but a new version of the historical facts con- 
tained in the second part of the latter poem. The narra- 
tive begins with the sending to Chile of his son, Don 
Garcia, by the viceroy Don Andres Hurtado de Mendoza. 
While Ercilla had written mainly about the Indians 
with slight reference to Don Garcia, Pedro de Oiia de- 
sired to repair this injustice by relating the personal 
exploits of the Spanish commander. To emphasize the 
part played by that nobleman, Pedro de Ona did not 
hesitate to violate either unity of plan or chronological 
order. His main narrative concerned the preparations 
of the savages for an attack on a Spanish fort and its 
successful defense by Don Garcia. The latter's subse- 
quent acts as viceroy of Peru in subduing a rebellion in 
Quito and in repelling the raid of the English admiral, 
Richard Hawkins, were introduced into the poem through 
the agency of the witch, Quidora, and the machinery of a 
dream. Though the love affairs of the Indians were 
fictions of the poet who invented them to relieve the 
strain of continuous warfare, the descriptions of their 
customs and those of the colonists have historical value. 
The poetic idyll of Caupolican and Fresia 'and the ad- 
ventures of Tucapel and Gualeva are interesting. Re- 
garding the author the poem reveals little but his serious 
and religious disposition. 

Pedro de Ona remained to the end of his days a diligent 
versifier. There exist from his pen a couple of sonnets; 
a cancion of some length in which the river Lima addresses 
the river Tiber on the virtues of Fray Francisco Solano 


of Lima who after his canonization was made patron 
saint of Santiago de Chile in 1633; a second herioc poem, 
El Vasauroy found in manuscript in Madrid by Barros 
Arana, on the deeds of Don Andres de Cabrera; and a mysti- 
cal religious poem in six thousand verses divided in twelve 
books on the life of Ignatius de Loyola, El Ignacio de 
Loyola, Apparently the Jesuits requested Ofia to compose 
this poem in honor of the founder of their society. No 
commission could have been more agreeable to the pious 
character of the poet as is partly shown by the care which 
he bestowed on the versification and the ornate rhetoric. 
Printed in Seville, 1636, the poem contributed to the 
author's reputation far more than the Arauco Domado. 
Lope de Vega in his Laurel de Apolo referring to this poem 
puts the serious lyre of Pedro de Ofia "alone among the 
swans of the Indies." Posterity may well consider Pedro 
de Ofia as the foremost poet in Chile during colonial 

Another poem produced under the stimulus of the 
prevailing fashion for heroic poems was found by Barros 
Arana in Madrid without title and name of author. The 
learned historian of the colonial literary history of Chile, 
Jose Toribio Medina, argues that the author was an 
unknown Juan de Mendoza mentioned by Alvarez de 
Toledo. The poem after giving a summary of Chilean 
history relates many minor events which occurred at the 
end of the sixteenth century. Though the reader's interest 
is rather harassed by the multiplicity of unconnected 
happenings, the central fact of the tcoubled-stat^ of the 
Spanish settlements stands out clearly. 
\/ Hernando Alvarez de Toledo was another Spanish 


warrior and colonist who pleased himself by the versifi- 
cation of his personal adventures. He left Spain in 158 1 
in company with the famous governor Alonso de Soto- 
mayor, who after an unlucky voyage, landed in Brazil 
and reached Chile by crossing the Argentine pampa 
and the Andes. The fifteen thousand verses of Alvarez' 
Puren Indbmito composed entirely without poetical in- 
ventions or fictions form a rhymed chronicle of his own 
feats of arms or those which he had heard in detail from 
his companions. To him the Indians are merely wily 
and treacherous enemies. Yet he gives many details 
about their habits, dress, adornments, ceremonies, method 
of fighting and the relations between them and the Span- 
iards. At times he puts into the mouths of the natives 
words about truth and the nature of God which are a 
satire on the actions of bad Spaniai^ds. So great is his 
adherence to fact that his statements are given full his- 
torical value by the historian Ovalle. The latter credits a 
portion of his history to the Jraucana, another poem by 
Alvarez which has been lost. 
\y^ Personal adventures formed the substance of another 
long poem printed at Lima, 1630, entitled Compendio 
historialde Chile by Melchor Xufre del Aguila (i 568-1637). 
The author boasted that he had come out at his own ex- 
pense. In the same year, 1 581, in which Don Garcia Hur- 
tado de Mendoza was made viceroy of Peru, Xufre went 
to Chile to seek adventures in the war. He got nothing 
but a broken leg and loss of property. So he determined 
to retire to a life of leisure in the country and write an 
account of his experiences. His book has lent to it some 
historical value by a long letter preceding the poem by 


way of introduction from Luis Merlo de la Fuente, cap- 
tain general of Chile, who outlines the events of his ad- 
ministration from 1606 to 1628. 

In prose, if one omits works written with a serious 
purpose, few attempts at literature are to be found. Of 
w these few one, Cautiverio feliz, by Francisco Nunez de 
Pineda y Bascufian (1607-82), was the most popular and 
widely read book of colonial times in Chile. The author, 
the son of a soldier much feared by the Araucanians, was 
placed by his father in a company of Spanish infantry 
which was called in 1629 to put down an outbreak of the 
Indians in southern Chile. The young man was one of 
a detachment attacked by overwhelming numbers and 
was taken prisoner with the few survivors. When the 
Indians learned his parentage, they were greatly delighted 
by their capture. Their leader Maulican determined to 
keep him alive though the other leaders wished to put him 
to death by torture. Bascufian remained in captivity 
seven months before he was ransomed. In his old age he 
wrote the story of it, leaving the manuscript to his chil- 
dren. Though the narrative was intended for history, it 
was written almost in the style of a novel. The reader is 
kept in dramatic suspense to the end wondering whether 
the good intentions of Maulican will prevail against the 
desires of those who seek the captive's death. The book, 
moreover, is a mine of curious facts about the Indians. 

The romantic interest felt by some toward the natives 
appears in a strange book, Restauracion de la Imperial y 
conversion de almas infielesy by Fray Juan ~de_Ba.rreiaechea 
y Albis, written in 1693. Medina classifies it as a novel. 
It is a fiction concerning Rocamila, the beautiful daughter 



of the Araucanian chief Millayan. Of her many lovers 
the most favored was Carilab. Their wedding, however, 
is postponed and their relations greatly troubled by the 
war with the Spaniards and the multiplicity of adventures 
which happen to them. The good friars and their efforts 
to Christianize the Indians claim a part of the nar- 

The habit of versifying history into which was incor- 
porated one's personal adventures, possibly encouraged 
by the popularity of Ercilla's poem, became widespread 
in other centers of Spanish settlement than Chile. Most 
of these compositions have been held in light esteem, on 
the one hand by historians as untrustworthy and on the 
other by writers on literature as prosaic. Apparently 
the more prosaic the versification the more accurate was 
the narration. In this respect the extreme is represented 
by Caspar de Villagra*s Conquista del Nuevo Mundoy pub- 
lished in 1610, a rhymed chronicle of the attempt by 
Juan de Onate to settle in the country now called New 
Mexico about the year 1598. Whatever the opinion else- 
where, natives of the respective countries in which the 
scenes of these historical poems were laid have regarded 
them highly. To the local poet they have proved a con- 
stant source of inspiration. To the local historian they 
have supplied invaluable details of genealogy and local 
v^ J\ian_^e_Castellanos for this purpose contributed the 
most important document of all. His Elegias de Varones 
ilustres de Indias consisting of some 150,000 lines is the 
longest poem of its kind in any language. The first part 
only was printed during the life of its author, but the 



remainder appears to have been known though not printed 
complete till the nineteenth century. Part one, published 
in 1589, dealt with the voyages of Columbus and the early 
conquests and settlements of the Caribbean islands and 
the region near the mouth of the Orinoco, as well as the 
adventures of the infamous Lope de Aguirre. The author 
had already written part of his chronicle when a friend 
persuaded him to rival Ercilla by versifying it. The 
judgment of posterity believes he might better have stuck 
to prose. Nevertheless Juan de Castellanos possessed 
such an astonishing ability in versification that he wrote 
occasional passages of real merit, so that from the point 
of view of poetry his poem may be given second place 
among versified chronicles. The second, third and fourth 
parts treat minutely the history of Nueva Granada and a 
part of Venezuela, with less attempt at poetic embellish- 
ment as they approach the end. 

Inferior in poetic qualities but priceless for its informa- 
tion because no other records of the events of which it 
treats has come down to us is La Argentina y conquista 
del Rio de la Plata, con otros acaecimientos de las reinos del 
Peru, Tucumdn y estado del Brasil, published at Lisbon, 
1602, by Don_Martin del Jarco Centener^ The author 
was a soldier who took part in the expedition led by 
Juan Ortiz de Zarate into the interior of the Argentine. 
The poem is also valuable for biographical matter con- 
cerning Juan de Garay, the founder of Buenos Aires. As 
its title indicates the poem lacks unity of subject-matter 
and it is overloaded with fairy tales of golden kingdoms 
and marvelous voyages. Redolent of the pampa, however, 
are his descriptions of the life of the savages, their method 


of hunting the wild ostrich with bolas, and the anecdotes 
of their relations to each other and to the Spanish settlers. 
Some of his love stories and episodes furnished excellent 
material to later poets. 

In Mexico the deeds of Cortes found their epic poet in 

\ Antonio_de Saas^dra^Guzn^ who published his Peregrino 
Indiano in twenty cantos of octaves in 1599. The author 
says of himself that he was corregidor of Zacatecas and 
that he spent seven years in collecting his material for 
a true history. As to his value the historian Prescott, 
who took a few details from his descriptions, estimated 
it in this wise, "Saavedra came on the stage before all 
that had borne arms in the conquest had left it." While 
Saavedra's story is mainly an account of military exploits 
from the moment of Cortes' departure from Cuba to the 
capture of the city of Mexico after the building of the 
ships in the lake, he does not neglect the amours of the 
leaders with the native women. The book has the addi- 
tional bibliographical interest of being the first printed 
by a person born in Mexico. 

Saavedra's poem was neither the first nor the last on 
the same subject. Contemporaries praised highly the 

><^lost work of ..Franri^co_dejre]Tgzag, whose sonnets show 
real poetical feeling. The son of one of Cortes' most 
trusted officers, he is the first native-bom Mexican poet. 
A few octaves that have been preserved of his Nuevo 
Mundo y Conquista show that Terrazas was especially 
skillful in depicting idyllic love scenes. Another rhymed 
chronicle, the Mexico conquistada of Juan de Escoiquiz 
has been dismissed by an eminent critic as "intolerable." 
On the other hand, the versification of Gabriel Lasso de \. 


la^Vega's Cortes Valeroso, published in 1588 with three 
additional cantos in 1594, is praised. And even better 
from the same point of view is the Hernandia of Francisco 
X Ruiz de Lgdn though the matter of the poem printed in 
1755 is little more than the versification of Antonio de 
Solis' famous history of the conquest of Mexico. 

In Peru, contemporary with the rich historical litera- 
ture dealing with the conquest, were written many short 
poems on various events. Pizarro*s exploits were related 
in a poem of eight cantos which, however, was not printed 
before 1848. In that year a bookseller of Lyons discovered 
the manuscript in the library of Vienna. Another longer 
manuscript poem in twenty cantos has for a title Armas 
Antdrticas, hechos de los famosos Capitanes espanoles que 
se hallaron en la conquista del Peru. Judging from such 
extracts as he had seen the Spanish critic Menendez y 
Pelayo rated its poetic qualities higher than those of the 
more fortunate Lima Fundada Conquista del Peru printed 
in 1732 for its author Pedro de Peralta Bamuevo, the poet 
laureate of the viceroys of his day. 

These historical or heroic compositions on American 
topics, so ambitiously termed epic poems by their authors, 
form only a branch of the same tree which was flourishing 
so lustily in Spain at the same period. An occasional 
poem treating an event in Spanish history even saw the 
light in America. Another thriving branch was the 
sacred epic ramifying into poems on the lives of saints 
and noted churchmen. Of the many poems in Spanish 
on the life of the Saviour the most excellent in all respects 
X was La Cristiada published in 161 1 bv_Frav Diego de 
XH)Djedajwho wrote its eloquent octaves in a convent of 


Lima. And in this outpouring of heroic verse what was 
more natural than that many a friar in America should 
desire thus to glorify the life of the founder of his order? 
Poems in many cantos on the life of Ignatius de Loyola, 
founder of the Jesuits, are especially numerous. Earlier 
than that by Pedro de Ona, already mentioned, was one 
by a friend of his, JLuis de Bej monte^ Vida del Patriarca w 
Ignacio de Loyola, published in Mexico in 1609 and dedi- 
cated to the Jesuit fathers of Nueva Espafia. The Domin- 
icans, not to be outdone by others, wrote in heroic verses 
the life of their celebrity, the Angelical Doctor, Thomas 
Aquinas. As if symbolic of his great learning the most 
peculiar of these poems entitled La Thomasiada, was 
composed by fray _piego Saenz Ovecurri and published \; 
in Guatemala, 1667. The poem aimed to be not only a 
biography but also a treatise on the art of poetry and a 
sort of encyclopedia in rhyme of matter taken from the 
works of the learned doctor. In the part relating to the 
art of poetry, examples of the most extravagant experi- 
ments in versification abound. 

Of the lives of saints in heroic verse, two especially 
achieved a certain reputation. The Gongorist title. La 
eloquencia del silencio. Poema heroyco, vida y martyrio 
del Gran Proto-Martyr del sacramental sigilo, fidelissimo 
custodio de la Fama, y protector de la Sagrada Compania 
de Jesus, San Juan Nepomuceno, is indicative of the style 
of the contents of this poem by a Mexican jurist Miguel 
de Reyna Zevallos, published in 1738. The other is far 
more interesting, Fida de Santa Rosa de Lima y Patrona 
del Peru by'g Antnnin Hp Ovifidp y Hprrpra, Conde de XL 
la Granja, published in 171 1. It is interesting not only 


because it relates the life of the most popular saint of 
America, Santa Rosa de Lima (as a measure of her popu- 
larity may be taken a certain bibliographical list of 276 
works referring to her), but also because it contains enter- 
taining descriptions of the country near Lima, of the 
raids of Drake and Hawkins on the Peruvian coast, and 
many other curious anecdotes of the life of the colony. 

In the matter of lyric verse there were numerous prac- 
titioners of it at all periods in America. Students of 
Spanish literature will remember that following the 
manner of the poet-soldiers who brought back to Spain 
from Italy the new forms there arose in Seville a school of 
versifiers. A leading member of the school, Gutierre de 

y_ Cetina, found his way to Mexico where in 1554 he was 
severely wounded by a jealous lover who mistook him in 
the dark for the object of his suspicions, a wound from 
which the unlucky poet probably died three years later. 
Another Sevillan poet who spent some time in Mexico was 

y Jjuan_d£_la^Cueva^ Among his literary remains exists an 
interesting description in tercets of the city of Mexico. So 
numerous in fact were poets among the adventurers in 
Mexico that at a poetical contest in 1585 no fewer than 
three hundred (?) took part according to the testimony of 
one of the winners. 

"Til? latter was B ernardo de Balbue na (1^:68-1627) who 
in later life became Bishop of Puerto Rico. And for the 
feeling which his works show for the tropical luxuriance 
of America he may be termed the first in point of time of 
American poets. Balbuena's most important poem, La 
Grandeza Mexicanay originally printed in Mexico in 1604, 
and many times reprinted, even in the nineteenth cen- 


tury, sets forth the beauties and wonders of Mexico, its 
wealth in precious metals and jewels, the strange costume 
of its inhabitants, its fiery horses, the rich fabrics brought 
thither in transit from China and the Philippine Islands. 
The poem is written in tercets and divided into nine parts. 
In 1608 he published El Sigh de Oro en las Selvas de 
ErifiUy a. pastoral novel in prose and verse, the latter 
consisting of twelve eclogues in imitation of Theocritus, 
Virgil, and Sannazaro. For its value as a monument of 
Spanish literature the Spanish Academy made a special 
edition of it in 1821. No less ambitious was Balbuena in 
vying with Ariosto in his longest poem El Bernardo la 
Victoria de Roncesvalles in twenty-four cantos. In one of 
them the hero is conveyed to Mexico where the Tlascalan 
wizard reveals to him the future conquest of Mexico. 

Of Spanish versifiers who visited Lima about the be- 
ginning of the seventeenth century the names of those 
known to Cervantes and Lope de Vega are very numerous. 
In real poetic worth a certain anonymous poetess who 
corresponded in rhymed epistles with Lope de Vega, sign- 
ing herself " Amarilis," excelled the rest. And no specula- 
tion as to the identity of the lady has proved successful. 
At the court of the viceroys who were themselves of the 
highest Spanish Ifobllity were many individuals of noble 
rank. And the customs of their gay society demanded 
much scribbling of verse's as well as dramatic representa- 
tions. The Prince of_Esquilache> viceroy from 161 5 to x 
1622, himself possesses a place in Spanish literature as a 
poet of the second rank, author of epistles and sonnets in 
the manner of Argensola and of an epic poem Ndpoles 
recuperada. His own works contain no references to his 


sojourn in the new world, but it is known that he main- 
tained a sort of literary academy in his residence. 

Of books of verse produced during colonial times a few 
deserve mention. The Primera parte del Parnaso Antdrtico 
de obras amatorias by Diego Mexia was printed in 1608. 
The title refers to a very praiseworthy translation of Ovid's 
Heroides which the author, as he himself relates, made in a 
long journey from Lima to Mexico. The prologue to his 
book is interesting for the references to his journey. 

The Miscelanea austral printed in Lima in 1603, though 
primarily a series of forty-four colloquies by its author, 
o 2iego^e^A^valosxEigHSI!95> ^^ ^11 sorts of subjects of most 
diverse character, love, jealousy, music, horses, the origin 
of rings, contains many verses by others as well as a long 
poem in six cantos. La Defensa de DamaSy in which Diego 
de Avalos attempts to refute by anecdotes those who 
write ill of ladies. 

A sort of anthology Ramillete de varias flores poeticas 
-^ recogidas by ]^q\ntci de Evja^ a native of Guayaquil, offers 
an idea of the state of poesy in 1675. At that date Gon- 
gorism was the fashion in Spain and Evia's Sevillan master 
of rhetoric, Antonio Bastidas, whose own poems are really 
the best in the book, had taught him the secret of pre- 
ciosity. The third poet whose lines appear here was a 
^ native of Bogota, Heman jo Dominguez Ca margo. As a 
sample of his conceits may be taken some verses in which 
he compares the water of a certain cascade to a bull or to 
a stallion about to be dashed to pieces against the rocks. 
Dominguez Camargo was the author also of a Gongorist 
poem on the life of Ignatius of Loyola. The Ramillete 
is a curious book whose verses of occasion, sonnets and 


inscriptions, and extracts in artificial prose convey a lively 
idea of life in Ecuador. 

Books of verse very popular in Lima, if one can judge 
by the number of manuscript copies which seem to have 
existed, were the Diente del Parnaso and Poesias varias of 
J uan del Valle y Caviedes, Their interest lay in the 
sparkling Andalusian wit of the author's lines. He was 
born the son of a Spanish merchant and had been sent at 
about the age of twenty to Spain where he remained three 
years. On his return to Lima about 1681 he fell sick as the 
result of dissipation. He whiled away his convalescence 
by writing satiric verses on his doctors whom he lampooned 
by name. His verses circulated in manuscript and were 
undoubtedly increased in number by other wits who put 
their smart and possibly obscene productions under his 
name. It is noteworthy that at such an early period the 
characteristic of later Peruvian literature, its gayety and 
humor, thus made its appearance. 

At the close of the seventeenth and the opening of the 
next century there were born in Peru several men of re- 
markable mental equipment who deserved to have fallen 
on an epoch more propitious in inspiration. By that date 
the ravages of Gongorism were at their height in Spanish 
literature and precisely by a defense of Gongora, Apol- 
ogetico en favor de D. Luis de Gongora, published in 1694 has 
the learned doctor Ju3ii_.ii£_JEspinosa_^ledrano distin- y 
guished himself. The book is a creditable piece of literary 
criticism and gives evidence of the ability of a man who at 
fourteen years of age composed autos and comedies and at 
sixteen filled a professorial chair in the university of Cuzco 
where he taught all his life, beside being connected with 


the cathedral in various capacities. He left behind also 
volumes of sermons and theological works. A poem of his 
El Aprendiz de Rico which draws a moral from the con- 
demnation and death of a silver miner for counterfeiting 
coin throws an interesting light on a phase of existence 
in that ancient capital of the Incas. 

The doctor of Cuzco was not, however, such a marvel 
of encyclopedic knowledge and literary accomplishment as 
P^drnjje Peralfa BarnuevoJg^ochR y Rena yides. Of his 
heroic poem Lima Fundada mention has already been 
made. He was by profession professor of mathematics in 
the university of Lima and made some astronomical 
observations on eclipses the results of which he published. 
In fact his works, including his scientific essays on military 
and civil engineering, on metallurgy, on navigation, on 
history, number no less than forty-eight between 1700 and 
1740. Beside being several times rector of the university 
he was the poet laureate of the viceroy. For that reason 
his name appears on the many volumes of verses which 
record the feasts and funerals of the period. ~ He wrote 
likewise several pieces for the stage beside a meritorious 
adaptation of Corneille's Rodogune. His contemporary 
the Spaniard P. Feijoo reckoned him the equal of the most 
erudite men of Europe. 

The custom of celebrating public events by issuing 
volumes of bombastic and laudatory verses was not con- 
fined to Peru but was practiced in Mexico too. And in 
general the bulk of Mexican verse is not only greater but 
on account of a few artificers it ranks better in quality. A 
stimulus to such abundant production was the custom of 
poetic contests. 


One of the best poems of the seventeenth century was so 
much admired that numberless imitations and glosses of it 
were written and it is to-day pleasant reading, Cancion a la 
Vista de un Desengaiioy by a Jesn jr Father Mafias dp 
Bocanegra. It is divided into six parts on the following 
theme: A young monk is listening to the song of a linnet. 
The bird would not sing in a cage he is sure. Just so the 
loss of his liberty irks him and he complains. He decides 
to break his vows and enter the world. Before he can 
carry out his determination he is confounded to see a 
falcon seize and rend the linnet. The thought comes to 
him that if the weaker bird had been protected by a cage 
it would not have suffered death. It died because it was 
free. The moral of this lesson prevents the young monk 
from breaking his vows. 

One wishes that more of the verse by friars had been 
written with such poetic simplicity of expression rather 
than in the tedious conceits of such poems on set religious 
topics as appear in the book entitled Triumpho parthenico 
que en glorias de Maria Santissima inmaculadamente 
concebida celehro la Pontifical Imperial^ y Regia Academia 
Mexicana etc. . . . Describelo D. Carlos de Siguenza y 
Gongora ^ Mexicano, y en ella cathedrdtico propietario de 
Mathemdticas. En Mexico i68j. The professor in his 
poetic style, even in his earlier poem published in 1668, 
Primavera Indiana, Poema sacro-historico, idea de Maria 
Santissima de Guadalupe, lived up to the tradition of his 
maternal name of Gongora. This poem narrated in 
seventy-nine royal octaves the story of the appearance to 
the baptized Indian Juan Diego of our Lady of Guada- 
lupe. Since the building of the church on the spot desig- 


nated by her radiant apparition, the native religion ma- 
terially declined. The present rich edifice dedicated to 
the patron saint of Mexico was built during the lifetime 
of Sigiienza y Gongora (i 645-1 700). As a cyclopedic 
scholar he was only equalled in America by the Peruvian 
doctor Peralta de Bamuevo. Sigiienza made many 
scientific and archaeological studies. Useful is his study 
of the Aztec calendar which he investigated for the pur- 
pose of establishing the chronology of that people. From 
his pen came numerous works on mathematics and as- 
tronomy which must be respected for their learning though 
they bear such titles as a certain Belerofonte matemdtico 
contra la Quimera astrologica. 

Toward the end of the seventeenth century a real poetic 
genius saw the light in Mexico. Being a woman and a 
poetess she was styled in accord with the bombast of 
the time "la Musa Decima mexicana," that is to say 
"the Tenth Muse a Mexican woman." She was born 
Ju^na Inesj e Asbaje y Ramj rez^d e Cantillana (1651-9^ . 
At seventeen years of age she became~^ir~nun, assuming 
the name S or Juana Ines je la Cruz, by which title she 
has since been known. She was possessed of the most 
intense intellectual curiosity. At one time she had gath- 
ered in her cell a library of no less than four thousand 
volumes. Her fame in wojrldly learning and in profane 
literature causing the Bishop of Puebla some worry, he 
wrote her a letter over the signature of " Sor Philotea de 
la Cruz" beseeching her as an admiring sister to have a 
care for her soul. She replied in a letter which the bishop 
had printed with the title of Carta athenogorica. 

Its theme was a defense of the education of women, 


but its interest to the world now consists in the bio- 
graphical details concerning the writer. Very little else 
is known. She learned to read at the age of three. At 
eight she composed a loa in honor of the holy sacrament. 
At about the same time she begged her parents to send 
her up to the University of Mexico dressed as a man. 
However she had to content herself with twenty lessons 
in Latin in which language she acquired proficiency by 
her own unaided efforts. Becoming a maid of honor to 
the vicereine of Mexico, she was "tormented for her 
wit and pursued for her beauty," until she took the veil 
in the convent of San Geronimo. From that moment 
her cell was her study. A certain superior at one time 
forbade her to use her books. She obeyed for three months 
but though she neglected her books she "studied all the 
things which God created." Though in her reply to the 
admonition of Sor Philotea, she defended her course of 
life, yet she was moved to sell her books and devote her 
mind to acts of piety. Shortly thereafter she died a 
victim of an epidemic. 

Her collected literary works fill three volumes. The 
first was printed in 1698 with the florid title Inundacibn 
Castdlida de la unica poetisa, musa decimal sor Juana Ines 
de la Cruz, The third volume published after her death 
was entitled Fama y Ohras postumas del Fenix de Mexico, 
decima musa, poetisa americana, sor Juana Ines dda Cruz, 
Some of her productions were printed separately, as the 
verses indited in celebration of the arrival of the Conde 
de Pa redes as viceroy, and called Neptuno alegorico, 
oceano de colores, simulacro politico, Sor Juana wrote not 
only verses but plays. For the Condesa de ares Fed she 


composed an Auto sacramental del Divino Narciso, por 
alegorias. Like their titles these compositions are Gon- 
goristic. In fact her contemporaries praised her most 
lighly for her most obscure compositions. On the other 
hand, she wrote many poems instinct with sincere feeling 
and unclouded by the pedantic taste of the epoch. Her 
lyrics suggest that her passionate temper was not always 
stirred solely by mystical love nor by feigned jealousy. 
Those verses of hers which have been best remembered 
were satirically directed against the detractors of women, 
foolish men who are to blame for the very faults in women 
that they censure. As for her rank in the world of letters, 
after the Cuban Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda, the 
second place among women of American birth who have 
written in Spanish may be rightfully accorded to Sor 
Juana Ines de la Cxxxl^ 

Her death was followed by the literary sterility of the 
eighteenth century. The only Mexican writer of Cas- 
tilian worthy of mention in this period was Francisco 
^ Ruiz de Leon whose Hernandia was a last effort to write 
epic poetry on the subject of the conquest of Mexico. He 
was the author of a devout poem in three hundred and 
thirty-three decimas with the alluring title Mirra duke 
para aliento de pecadores. The mainstay of literature, 
the friars began to neglect the vernacular for Latin. Of 
these Latinists there is a formidable list. A certain 
Jesuit father Rafael Landivar is the only one sufficiently 
original to have left behind any literary influence. A 
long poem in fifteen books, Rusticatio mexicana, in the 
style of the Georgics of Virgil, set forth the natural beau- 
ties and wonders of America. Descriptive poetry of this 


sort, beginning with Balbuena^s Grandeza mexicana, has 
a long history in America. Parts of Landivar's poem 
were not only translated by some into Spanish but were 
imitated by others. 

Ruiz de Leon's Mirra duke by some peculiar chance 
happened to be one of the first books of verse printed in 
Bogota. Colombia was not an especially fertile field for 
the cultivation of letters. Contemporary with Sor Juana 
and inditing verses to her was a certain Francisco Alvarez 
de Velasco y Zorrilla. And in prose there exist two books 
which the Colombians are proud to exhibit as productions 
of their early literary history, Sentimientos Espirituales 
by a nun Francisca Josefa de la Concepcion, known also 
as the Madre^£astillo and an autobiography, Vida de la 
venerable Madre Castillo. 

In the neighboring territory of Ecuador poetic and 
literary activity seems to have been a little greater. A 
Jesuit father, Juan_deJVelasco, himself the author of an 
interesting Historia del reino de Quito, preserved the 
verses of his contemporaries which he prepared for the 
press in a miscellany in six volumes, entitled El Ocioso de 
Faenza. The best of these poems show a real feeling for 

One activity of the friars should by no means be over- 
looked. They interested themselves keenly in the native 
languages for the purpose of teaching the aborigines the 
gospel of Christ. Grammars and dictionaries, catechisms 
and books of devotion in the native tongues abound. 
And stranger still there exist plays, many of religious 
character whose intent is obvious. The friars, finding in 
the native dances something of a dramatic character, 


from the first made use of this rudimentary drama to 
further their eflForts in converting the Indians. It was an 
easy matter to turn into the native tongues the religious 
plays or autos of which the Spaniards were so fond for 
their own edification. But secular plays were also adapted. 
Three plays of Lope de Vega are said to have existed in a 
Mexican dialect, Nahuatl. To literary historians a cer- 
tain drama in the Peruvian or Quechua language, Ollantdy 
has long presented a problem of interest. 

The argument of the play is briefly as follows: Ollanta 
(or Ollantay) is a chief of lowly birth who meets parental 
opposition in his love for Cusi-Coyllur (Joy-star), daughter 
of the Inca. Her father dismisses the young man's suit 
with anger. The Andean mountaineers among whom 
Ollanta has taken refuge make him their king, with 
Ollantay-Tambo as his stronghold. After a few years 
the old Inca dies and his sop^lma-Sumac reigns in his 
stead. The ten-year-old daughter of Ollanta and Cusi- 
Coyllur appears on the scene as an inmate of the convent 
where the elect virgins of the sun reside in Cuzco. She 
discovers that her mamer is kept there a prisoner. By 
treachery Ollanta isyoound in chains and brought before 
the Inca. The latter however pardons him. At that 
moment I ma-Syi/nac rushes into th e Inca's court and 
tearfully relates the cruelties inflicted on her;, mother 
in prison. Thejnca and Ollanta go to the convent of 
the elect virgins. Both recognize Cusi-Coyllur who is 
released by the command of the Inca and given in mar- 
riage to Ollanta. 

It was formerly believed that this play was a relic of 
a Quechuan literature. The early Spanish historians, 


notably the Inca Garcilasso de la Vega testified that a 
rude form of drama existed among the Peruvians. But 
investigation has revealed not only that the rhetorical 
structure of Ollanta is that of a Spanish drama but also 
it is written in meters peculiar to Spanish, such as re- 
dondillas, quintillas and decimas. Much printer's ink 
has been shed over this play and its authorship. The 
last and most thorough study of it, that of Prof. E. C. 
Hills, seems to show that a certain Antonio Valdes, parish 
priest of Tinta, who produced it with great pomp be- 
tween 1770 and 1780, was its author. 

Other clergymen familiar with the native tongue used 
the drama to assist their religious teaching. The learned 
doctor Juan_de_Es£iaQsa_Medranp, was the author of an 
Auto sacramental del Hijo Prodigo in which the scriptural 
story of the prodigal son is edifyingly set forth with realistic 
details. Another considerable play in the Quechua lan- 
guage has for title Usca Paucar, by an unknown author. 
The dramatic quality of this play is meager, but its theme 
shows that it was intended to urge upon the natives the 
veneration of the Virgin at the chapel of our Lady of 

This church stood on the south shore of Lake Titicaca 
where the aborigines had a sanctuary before the coming 
of the Spaniards. To adorn their mission the Augustinians 
by whose care it was maintained, brought from Spain an 
old painting of the Virgin. This way of converting the 
natives was similar to that pursued in Mexico at the 
establishment of the church of our Lady of Guadalupe. 
And while the relative greater importance of the latter 
has evoked more devotional verse, our Lady of Copaca- 


bana had the signal honor of being staged in a play by 
Calderon, La Aurora en Copacabana, who drew his argu- 
ment either from a poem El Santuario de Nuestra Senora 
de Copacabana, by Fray Fernando de Valverde, or a prose 
narrative of the mission of the Augustinian fathers. 

The history of the drama in Spanish America, apart 
from the loas and allegorical pieces produced to celebrate 
some viceroy's arrival, is obscure. The thorough estab- 
lishment of the theater in Mexico is plain, however, from 
Balbuena's testimony, who refers to the production of 
"new comedies every day." Among the Spanish poets 
who sought fortune in America were several dramatists, 
as Juan de la Cueva and Luis de Belmonte Bermudez. 
One of the most famous of the Spanish dramatists of the 
golden period was on the other hand bom in Mexico, 
T uan Ruiz de Alarcon ( died 1639). Though contemporary 
with Lope de Vega, his plays were distinguished from 
the latter's by a greater care for form and a more careful 
psychological analysis of the characters. Alarcon's sober- 
ness and the epigrammatic quality of his style were, in 
the opinion of a recent critic, Pedro Henriquez Urena, 
the contributions of his Mexican birth. The high altitude 
of central Mexico seems to tone down the native exuber- 
ance of the Andalusian. It is possible too that Alarcon 
learned the dramatic art in Mexico where two of his pub- 
lished comedies, El semejante a si mismo and Mudarse 
por mejorarsey may have been written, since they abound 
in expressions peculiar to Mexico. 

A dramatist whose whole career was spent in Mexico, 
though he was probably bom in Spain, was femanGon- 
zalez de Eslava. His works have been preserved in a 


book printed in 16 10, years after his death, with the title, 
Coloquios espirituales y Poesias sagradas. Though the 
form of his plays is mainly the allegorical, he introduces 
in the dialogue an endless series of everyday characters 
whose language, full of idioms and even vulgarisms, re- 
veals as no other book the speech current in Mexico at 
that period. 

The colonial history of Spanish America is faithfully 
mirrored in its literary productions. The prose narratives 
and the heroic poems picture the period of discovery and 
conquest during the sixteenth century. As the viceroys' 
courts become more important in the seventeenth century 
poems of occasion represent the secular side of life, while 
the friars* interests are revealed in devotional writing in 
verse and prose, in dramas intended for instruction, and 
in miscellaneous works in both the vernacular and Latin 
concerning the activities of their orders. At the be- 
ginning of the eighteenth century a profound lethargy 
descends on colonial life which remains almost unbroken 
till the great upheaval of the revolutionary period in the 
early years of the nineteenth century. 

There were, however, a few stirrings which broke the 
calm in the different countries. In Mexico the prerevolu- 
tionary awakening centers in Fray Manuel de Navarrete y^ 
( 1 768-1 809). This Franciscan friar endeavored to restore 
poetry by founding a literary society, the "Arcadia 
mexicana" and by writing anacreontics of shepherds and 
shepherdesses in the style of the Spanish poet Melendez, 
but without a hint of sensuality. His eclogues were writ- 
ten on the other hand after the manner of Garcilaso de la 
Vega. Navarrete displayed more originality, or at least 


a personal note, in his religious verse. As his style was 
fluent and musical he attracted admirers who followed 
him in his classicism. But they lived to witness the 
revolution and wrote under its inspiration their more 
important pieces. The poetic style of the Mexican revolu- 
tionary poets is rather better than those of other regions, 
a fact to which Navarrete's influence may have contrib- 

Over South America a wave of scientific investigation 
in all departments of natural history and physical geog- 
raphy spread during the last half of the eighteenth cen- 
tury. In Bogota, the capital of the new viceroyalty of 
Nueva Granada established in 1740, a botanist and scien- 
V tist of the first rank, Jqrq Cp^p<?ti"0 Mm-is, a Spaniard, 
began his teaching in 1762. A whole generation of en- 
thusiastic students were trained in his classes. The most 
brilliant of them was Francisco Jose Caldas who became 
the master's successor. Caldas, as one branch of his 
studies, formed a herbarium of five to six thousand plants 
of this region of America, accompanied by an exhaustive 
account of the diff'erent altitudes and localities where 
each plant throve. As director of the astronomical ob- 
servatory he made many useful studies of various charac- 
ter some of which he made public in a special periodical 
El Semanario de la Nueva Granada. To this journal 
many contributed both scientific articles and even verses. 
And it was this little group of lovers of science who first 
conspired against the hegemony of Spain. Some of them 
were sent as prisoners to Spain while others, among them 
Caldas, met their death from the rifles of a firing party in 


In Ecuador the scientific spirit as embodied in a skillful 
physician, Dr. Francisco Eugenio de Santa Cruz y Espejo . 
paid attention to the subject of education. In 1779 he 
put into circulation his Nuevo Luciano despertador de 
ingenios. It was a critical satire in dialogue form which 
exposed the evils of the prevailing system of education. 
Later Dr. Espejo satirized personally the Spanish colonial 
minister, an exploit which cost him a year in prison and 
banishment to Bogota. There his writings assisted in 
preparing the revolution. 

In Peru science was fostered by the viceroy Francisco 
Y Q\\ de Tahoadaj who had been an admiral in the Spanish 
navy. He permitted the establishment of a society "Los 
Amantes del Pais'* and the publication, 1791, of a journal 
El Mercurio peruana which was mainly devoted to scien- 
tific topics. The editor and most learned contributor was 
Dr. Hipolito Unanue, professor of medicine in the univer- 

But the most celebrated literary production of this 
epoch in Lima was at the opposite pole of seriousness and 
respectability. The name of the book which has been 
many times reprinted was Lima por dentro y fuera by 
"Simon Ayanque,'* a pseudonym of Esteban de Terralla 
y Landa. The author was an Andalusian who eked out a 
living by writing verses of occasion. In 1792 he published 
his satire of the types of individuals in Lima. The title- 
page of the book gives a hint of the levity and even the 
obscenity of some of its seventeen romances. The eccle- 
siastical authorities considered suppressing it but such 
action was not necessary to complete its popularity. Its 
literary value, even as a provocative to laughter, has been 


unanimously denied by critics, but its ready sale both to 
contemporaries and to later generations, especially in a 
certain edition embellished by colored drawings, testifies 
to an element of truth in its portraiture. 

Satire of the authorities was about the only method 
by which discontent at this time could express itself. In 
Chile a mock epic La Tucapelinuy which for the personal 
safety of its author circulated in manuscript, burlesqued 
the captain general and his deputies for their part in the 
restoration of a church at Tucapel in 1783. This poem 
and certain others descriptive of disasters in Chile seem 
now at least to echo rumblings of the approaching storm 
of revolution. 

Across the Andes from Chile on the shores of the Atlantic 
the eighteenth century witnessed the rapid growth of the 
commerce of Buenos Aires. In 1776 the vast region now 
known as Argentina including most of modern Bolivia 
y^ was established as a viceroyalty. To Jjianjfise ^Verd^, 
viceroy from 1778 to 1784, the city of Buenos Aires owed 
its first steps in transition from a wretched town to a 
modem capital. He founded all manner of public works, 
a system of street lighting, a college, a hospital, an orphan 
asylum, and even a theater. For the benefit of the orphan 
asylum he established a printing press so that the first 
book printed in Buenos Aires dates from his administra- 

As the first rector of his new Colegio de San Carlos, 

Y Vertiz appointed Jiian_Jtali-asar Mayiel (i 727-88), an 

ecclesiastic of liberal tendencies and wide reading owning 

the best library of the city. Maziel was an interesting 

personality who wrote much in prose and verse. Two 


satirical sonnets of his brought him into conflict with a 
subsequent viceroy, the Marques de Loreto, who sum- 
marily seized his person and transported him to Mon- 
tevideo. Maziel died before the news of his own vin- 
dication by the Spanish king's order reached America. 
About Maziel there sprang up a literary circle. 

His friend and defender in the controversy over the 
sonnets Manuel Jose de Labarde n (i 754-1 809) was a v 
man of unusual literary ability. His claims on fame are 
two, an ode Al Parana, and a play Siripo, both the more 
remarkable as anticipating subsequent Argentine litera- 
ture. The verses descriptive of the great river penetrating 
far to the interior were the first about the landscape from 
which so many later poets drew their inspiration. Siripo 
is a play treating the relations of the white men and the 
aborigines. It breathes of the pampa. The life of the 
pampa in the form of gaucho poetry makes the originality 
of Argentine verses and plays. 

The story of Siripo y drawn from an early chronicle, 
was frequently rehandled by others. A young white 
woman, Lucia Miranda, in a raid on the settlements, was 
taken captive by the cacique Siripo. Her husband joined 
her in captivity. Siripo condemned him to death but 
offered him his life on condition that he marry into the 
tribe while Lucia became Siripo's bride. The pair refuse. 
Their faithfulness to each other so exasperated the savage 
that he had them put cruelly to death. 

This drama was first represented in the carnival of 
1789 and immediately brought its author renown. The 
play had been long written however for Labarden read 
some of the scenes at Maziel's house. Moreover, in his 


youth Labarden had been a student at Chuquisaca in 
upper Peru where he was on intimate terms with Valdes, 
the discoverer or author of the Quechua drama Ollantd, 
In Valdes' small collection of dramatic books Labarden 
had his only opportunity to learn the dramatic art. And 
it is possible that Valdes' reading of Ollantd gave Labar- 
den the idea of writing Siripo. 

Labarden's ode Al Parana embellished the first number 
of the first periodical printed in Buenos Aires, April i, 
1 80 1, El Telegrafo mercantil rural politico, economico, e 
historiografo del Rio de la Plata. An outlet for the thoughts 
of the restless spirits whose education had been acquired 
in Vertiz' Colegio de San Carlos was thus supplied. After 
a year's successful publication its suppression was caused 
by the satires of a festive versifier. But the ground was 
prepared. Other papers followed. The means of pub- 
licity and the ability to write were at hand when in the 
first decade of the nineteenth century the4dea of revolu- 
tion spread abroad in this part of Amaiica which first 
successfully asserted its independence from Spain. 



The literature of the revolutionary period sprang di- 
rectly from the hearts of men, a literature of occasion in- 
spired by the hopes and aspirations of the colonials or the 
events of their warfare against the mother country. To 
comprehend its meaning then one must follow its produc- 
tion step by step under the stress of the mighty struggle. 

Its forms were often rude and uncouth because literary 
models within reach of the writers were few. In Chile 
for example Camilo Henriquez patterned his verses on a 
single volume of the poems of Tomas Iriarte, the only book 
of poetry which he could find in Santiago. The scarcity 
of books in Spanish America was due in part to the ob- 
scurantist policy of the Spanish government. In the reign 
of Carlos IV, when a question arose concerning the chair 
of mathematics in the University of Caracas the king 
abruptly dismissed the matter by the dictum, "It is not 
expedient to educate the Americans." Education had 
fallen to a low plane in Spain itself so that the state of 
culture in the mother country was naturally reflected in 
the colonies. 

The lack of books was aggravated by the scarcity of 
printing presses. Though printing presses were set up in 
Lima and Mexico in the sixteenth century, there were 
none in Havana before 1787 nor in Chile before 1811. To 



Venezuela the first press was brought by General Miranda 
in 1806 as a weapon to spread the propaganda of revolt. 

— Moreover, the importation of books was opposed by the 
authorities who believed them to be agents of sedition. 
In 1797 the royal audiencia of Venezuela, reporting on the 
revolutionary fiasco of that year, noted as one of the 
causes, "the introduction of papers from the foreign islands 
and the old world in spite of the vigilance of the author- 
ities." But an interesting light is thrown on the quality 
of their vigilance or their intelligence by an anecdote con- 
cerning an importation of books into Chile. A set of such 
pernicious writings as the works of the French Ency- 
clopedists was successfully passed through the customs by 
the simple expedient of affixing to the volumes theological 
N^ The friction between Spain and her colonies had its 
roots in the disposition of the government to exploit the 
/ new world for the benefit both economically and admin- 
( istratively of the old. The Spaniards assumed and main- 

^tained a monopoly of the trade with the colonies. The 

latter were compelled to buy only Spanish goods or goods 
brought in Spanish ships. In the matter of administration 
immigrants direct from Spain were favored over the chil- 
dren of the second generation who were known as Creoles 
-— - (criollos). In fact the latter were generally excluded from 
office holding. Spanish officials were forbidden to marry 
daughters of the Creoles. If sometimes royal favor lifted 
the ban, the lucky couple were transferred to another dis- 
trict than that of the bride's residence. Political disabil- 
ities had quite as much influence in preparing the colonial 
mind for revolt as the economic restrictions. 


The form of government which the rebellious colonies 

set up was that of a democracy. But fundamentally their ] 
governments were oligarchic. A league of families in each 
country maintained in varying degrees the colonial system 
in which the great body of the people had little part. The 
years of turmoil, not yet ended in some countries, which 
followed the separation from Spain denote the struggle 
of the crowd to win its share in the government. 

The distress and confusion in Spain caused by the 
Napoleonic invasion brought the colonials their opportu- - - 
nity. The condition of affairs was first made clear to 
America by the English attempt in 1806 to seize and hold 
the city of Buenos Aires. On account of the relations be- 
tween France and Spain at that time, the captain general 
of the provinces of the river Plate was a Frenchman by 
the name of Jacques de Liniers. Though the English 
landed a body of troops under General William Beresford, 
and occupied the city, Liniers organized a large volunteer 
force which, ably seconding his few regular soldiers, suc- 
ceeded in compelling the surrender of the invaders. The 
next year another English expeditionary army under 
General Whitelock met a similar fate after severe fighting 
in the streets of the city. 

This successful defense of Buenos Aires had a remark- - 
able effect on the minds of the citizens. In the first place 
it made them conscious of their collective strength. In 
the second place the innumerable ballads and verses which 
appeared in print extolling their deeds of valor filled ., 
their spirits with truculence and their imaginations with 
visions of glory. When the occasion offered in 18 10 they 
were ready to see them realized in a fight against Spain. 


The title "poet of the English invasions" has been con- 
ferred on Pantaleon Rivarola (1754-1821). But the 
poetic worth of his compositions like those of Jose Prego 
de Oliver, Fray Cayetano Rodriguez, and many other 
balladists, is slight. Rivarola's longest effort, Romance 
heroico de la Reconquista, was written for recitation to the 
accompaniment of the guitar, but it was a very prosaic 
detailed account of the fighting. Greater artistic merit 
may be claimed for the Triunfo Argentino of Vicente Lopez 
y Planes (i 784-1 856) who served as captain in a famous 
company called "Los Patricios." This ballad has vigor 
of movement and at times almost epic interest. Lopez' 
celebrity rests however on his national hymn adopted as 
such by the national assembly in 18 13. 

The part played by the volunteers from Montevideo 
in retaking Buenos Aires from the English was set forth 
in an allegorical drama, La Lealtad mas acendrada y 
Buenos Aires vengada, by Juan Francisco Martinez, a 
native of Uruguay. The two cities are represented as 
nymphs dwelling in a forest. Montevideo, inspired and 
protected by Mars, undertakes the rescue of Buenos Aires 
from Neptune, the protector of the English. 

For his part in the defense of Buenos Aires, Liniers was 
appointed viceroy. When Napoleon Bonaparte's brother 
Joseph became king of Spain, 1808, a revolt against the 
French broke out with violence in all Spain. The na- 
tionalist party wished to restore Ferdinand VII to power. 
In America riots occurred in the principal capitals and 
a "junta" or committee of citizens attempted to take over 
the powers of government "in the name of Ferdinand 
VII." These juntas were patterned after the central 


junta of Sevilla which was managing the rebellion in 
Spain. Consequently when it fell to pieces in 18 10 the 
American juntas were left as it were hanging in the air. 
In Buenos Aires the situation was met by the gathering of 
an armed assembly. Liniers had been superseded as vice- 
roy by Baltasar de Cisneros and a party in the assembly 
wished to make him president. This movement was de- 
feated, and Cisneros withdrew to Montevideo. Henceforth 
the assembly ruled. The date of its first meeting, May 25th, 
has since been regarded as the Argentine national holiday. 

One of the assembly's first acts, June 7th, 18 10, was the 
establishment of a semiweekly official journal, La Gaceta 
de Buenos Aires. The director of this organ was also the 
secretary of the junta, Mariano Moreno (i 778-1 811). 
To the projects of this ardent democrat and the articles by 
which he urged them, the cause of the revolution in 
Argentina was greatly indebted. He brought about the 
establishment of the national library for which J. B. 
Maziel's books formed a nucleus. In the name also of 
liberty of thought he effected the establishment of a school 
of mathematics partly for training officers for the army. 
Finally as the Argentine people were preparing for na- 
tional defense, he was sent on a diplomatic mission to 
England with full powers to conclude any international 
arrangement. But his feeble health broke down en route 
and he died at sea. 

Preparation for the armed defense of Buenos Aires was 
largely entrusted to Manuel Belgrano(i 770-1 820). Rally- 
ing the young men under the colors sky-blue and white, 
now those of the Argentine flag, he made ready to meet 
the Spanish army advancing from Upper Peru. At the 


same time there was danger from the forces in Montevideo 
though the gaucho leader Artigas was besieging the city 
on the landward side assisted at sea by a daredevil Irish- 
man, William Brown, in command of a few poor ships. 
Belgrano advanced to Tucuman, about eight hundred 
miles northwest of Buenos Aires. He had collected a 
goodly body of gauchos who on the day of the fight broke 
the strength of the Spanish army. Occurring in Septem- 
ber, 1 812, this battle resulted in such a victory that Buenos 
Aires was never again seriously threatened by a Spanish 
army. Belgrano proceeded toward Upper Peru but a 
year later was caught at a disadvantage and completely 
defeated in October of 1 813. On his return to the city he 
was sent to Spain to try to arrange a settlement on the 
basis of autonomy for Argentina, but the Spanish govern- 
ment rejected his suggestions. On July 9th, 1816, a 
congress of the Argentine provinces in session at Tucuman 
formally declared themselves independent of Spain. Bel- 
grano's services have never been forgotten by the Argen- 
tines. And a young poet, Juan C. Lafinur, who left the 
university to enlist in Belgrano's army, won fame for 
himself by certain elegies which he wrote at the time of 
the leader's death. 

The student of the revolution must not forget that 
everywhere existed active partisans of Spanish interests. 
These loyalists had to be persuaded either by force or by 
rhetoric to join the revolution. To some the appeal was 
made through the press; to others by speeches in public 
meetings, by verses and patriotic songs. In Buenos 
Aires the poets vied with each other in writing a national 
anthem. Esteban de Luca, Fray Cayetano Rodriguez 


and Vicente Lopez y Planes, each produced one which 
for a season enjoyed popularity. But in 1813 the national 
congress of which Lopez y Planes was a member, decreed 
that his "Marcha patriotica should be sung at all official 
festivals and that at dawn of the anniversaries of the 25th 
of May, the school children should meet in the public 
town square to salute the rising sun with the national 

Beginning with the clarion call, 

Old, mortales, el grito sagrado, 
Libertad, libertad, libertad! 

the song sought to arouse hatred of the oppressor and 
especially of certain leaders of the Spanish army, who, 
having been born in America, were called "vile." The 
several strophes were packed with allusions to recent 
events. In this close touch with reality the Argentine 
national anthem differed from those of other countries 
largely composed of abstract commonplaces. Certain 
phrases, such as "a new and glorious nation," "a lion 
bowed at her feet," and the term "argentino" recurring 
several times, caught the popular fancy. People had 
printed on their visiting cards designs to represent these 
notions. Its expressions of hatred for Spaniards were so 
ferocious that late in the nineteenth century, after futile 
efforts to substitute a milder hymn, the president of the 
republic decreed that only the first and last quatrains 
and the chorus which were free of offense should be sung 
at public celebrations. Its author, Lopez y Planes, at- 
tained political prominence and late in life even became 
provisional president of Argentina. 


The fierce hatred of the rebelling colonials has always 
been resented by Spaniards as unjust. They have specially 
ridiculed the colonial tendency to identify their own cause 
with that of the aborigines. How can the descendants 
of Spanish conquistadores refer to themselves, even in 
outbursts of patriotic song, as sons of the Inca.? Though 
there is much sense in the Spanish point of view, yet the 
power of the appeal is evident. So thorough a student 
of Spanish-American history as Clements R. Markham, 
referring to the uprising of the Indians of Peru in 1780, 
says, — "From the cruel death of the last of the Incas 
may be dated the rise of that feeling which ended in the 
expulsion of the Spaniards from South America." 

This historical event is known as the rebellion of Tupac 
Amaru. It will be remembered that after the Spaniards 
had thoroughly established their power in Peru, they 
made some slight provision for the welfare of the natives. 
A school, the Colegio de San Borja, for the Christian 
education of their young princes was opened in Cuzco. 
But the claimants to the throne of the Incas were cruelly 
treated. In 1571 the viceroy, Francisco de Toledo, second 
son of the Marques de Oropesa, with the idea of stifling 
any future attempt on the part of the natives to rally 
around the person of an Inca, put to death on slight pre- 
text the eighteen-year-old boy, Tupac Amaru, then the 
acknowledged head of the royal house. But one of the 
viceroy's own relatives married an Inca princess. A de- 
scendant of theirs in 1770, who had been educated in the 
Colegio de San Borja, successfully prosecuted his claim 
to the marquisate of Oropesa before the royal audiencia 
of Lima, which at the same time recognized him as the 


fifth in lineal descent from the Inca Tupac Amaru. Join- 
ing the prestige of this name which he assumed to that of 
his Spanish title, the new Inca set to work to bring about 
better conditions for the Indian population in Peru. 
Having exhausted during ten years of effort all legal means 
to attain his object, he stirred up the Indians to armed 
resistance. Their temporarily successful revolt soon met 
with defeat at the hands of the Spanish army. Not only 
was the Inca captured and cruelly executed but Indians 
everywhere were relentlessly hunted down. Including 
their reprisals on isolated white settlers and their own 
slaughter, no less than 80,000 people are said to have 

The story of this dreadful affair was undoubtedly used 
for political effect during the colonial struggle against 
Spain. An Argentine historian, Gregorib Funes (1749- 
1829) was the first to write a detailed account including 
it in his Ensayo de la Historia civil de Buenos AireSy Tucu- 
mdn y Paraguay. The three volumes of this history 
published in 1816 and 1817 must be recognized as a schol- 
ar's effort to assist the revolutionary propaganda. Like 
Tacitus whom he took for a model Funes emphasized the 
errors of the government and the crimes of its agents. 
His story of the period preceding the revolution is brought 
to a climax with the rebellion of Tupac Amaru. 

In the dedication, "A la Patria," Funes says: "The 
day was to arrive at last when the love of country would 
not be a crime. Under the old regime thought was a slave 
and the soul of the citizen did not belong to him. The 
scene was changed. We are now free men. The country 
demands its rights now from the beings it protects. . . . 


As for me I dedicate to it the insipid fruit of this histor- 
ical essay. At least it has the advantage of calling its 
ravagers to judgment. . . . Moreover the tyranny and 
the actions of those who have governed us will serve as 
documents to enable us to discriminate between the good 
and the bad and to choose the best." 

Funes was bom in the town of Cordoba, where is located 
the third oldest university in America. Besides attending 
its courses he was educated in Spain. Before his return 
to America, Carlos III appointed him a canon in the 
cathedral of Cordoba, of which he later became dean. 
Residing in his native town in 1810, he was one of the 
first to adopt the principles of the revolution. His fellow 
townsmen sent him to represent them in the first nc-itional 
assembly held in Buenos Aires. For a short time after 
the retirement of Mariano Moreno, Funes was editor of 
the Gaceta. 

It was then that the idea occurred to him of writing 
his history. Despite its political purpose the work merits 
serious consideration as a history of the colonial period 
of the Argentine provinces. Its vigorous well-written 
prose makes it a worthy first of the long series of histories 
which form a leading characteristic of Argentine literature 
in the nineteenth century. 

The Gaceta continued to be the chief means of voicing 
revolutionary aspirations, referred to collectively as the 
"dogma de Mayo." After Funes' brief editorship, its 
columns fulminated with the writings of Bernardo de 
Monteagudo (.?-i825), one of the extraordinary person- 
alities of the revolution in Spanish America. Of brilliant 
mind though of humble birth he was so vehement a revolu- 


tionist that he had been condemned to death and escaped 
the penalty five times before 181 2. His articles in the 
Gaceta preached absolute social equality and the rights 
of man. To further his ideas he founded the "Sociedad 
Patriotica." But his doctrines were not pleasing to the 
so-called triumvirate which ruled the city, so they put a 
stop to the publication of the Gaceta. Monteagudo per- 
sisted in his utterances by starting a periodical of his 
own, El Mdrtir libre, in which his expressions were even 
more violently extreme in favor of the "dogma de Mayo." 
Finally he was driven from Buenos Aires. During the 
years of the armed struggle he took part in the military 
operations in Chile. By 1 821 he was in Peru in charge 
of the department of war. Again his writings preached 
liberty. Again he founded a Sociedad Patriotica to move 
a people sluggish to adopt revolutionary principles. After 
the final success of the revolution, Monteagudo died in 
Lima by an unknown assassin's hand. His writings con- 
sisting of articles and fiery speeches have been collected. 
His Memorias give interesting details of his unusual 
career, and a vivid picture of the times. 

Contemporaneous with affairs in Argentina similar 
events were taking place in Chile. The interests of these 
neighboring countries have always been closely connected. 
Each has served at some time as a refuge for the political 
exiles of the other. And as the exiles have either been 
journalists or have taken up journalism as a means of 
support, their literatures have exerted a reciprocal in- 

The example of Buenos Aires in assuming the preroga- 
tives of government in May, 1810, was followed in Chile 


by the establishment of a similar junta to govern in the 
name of Fernando VII. The date of its proclamation, 
September i8th, has since been considered the national 
holiday of Chile. The military situation was directed by 
three brothers by the name of Carrera, who corrupted the 
troops in garrison at Concepcion. The first congress 
assembled in 1811. In April of that year occurred a 
royalist insurrection in Santiago. During the street 
fighting there appeared, encouraging the colonial soldiers, 
a friar, Camilo Henriquez (1769-1825), who was destined 
to be the most prominent person to support the war on the 
intellectual side. In the fight he was doubly conspicuous 
by reason of his garb unknown in Chile, a black gown 
decorated with a red cross on the left side of the breast. 
Though born a Chilean he had been sent to Peru to be 
educated by the friars of La Buena Muerte, an order 
which he entered. His militant action of April, Henriquez 
justified in a sermon on the anniversary of North American 
independence, July 4th, 181 1. 

This sermon was such an able argument in favor of the 
revolution that even in Buenos Aires it was ordered 
printed for distribution. The mental attitude of such a 
large portion of the better elements of the people, espe- 
cially of the clergy, was so opposed to the revolution that 
Henriquez' determined stand in favor of it possessed great 
importance. As the intellectual champion of his party he 
was made the editor of the periodical, the Aurora de Chile, 
established as its organ. The first number appeared on 
February 13th, 181 2. On July 4th, Henriquez uttered 
from its columns the first cry for independence in these 


"Let us begin in Chile by declaring our independence. 
That alone can blot out the name of rebels which tyranny 
gives us. That alone can raise us to the dignity which 
belongs to us, give us alliances among the powers and 
impose respect on our enemies: and if we treat with them, 
it will be with the majesty proper to a nation. Let us take 
in short this indispensable step. Uncertainty causes our 
weakness and exposes us to disorders and dangers." 

On the same date at a dinner given by the consul of the 
United States, Henriquez read one of the first of his com- 
positions in verse, a Himno patribtico. From that time he 
endeavored to persuade by similar means, celebrating each 
victory over the Spanish arms by appropriate verses. In 
this he was joined by a man of somewhat greater literary 
ability, Bernardo de Vera y Pintado (i 780-1 827). To- 
gether on the occasion of the public rejoicing at the victory 
of Jose Miguel Carrera over the first army sent to Chile 
by the viceroy of Peru, Henriquez and De Vera, wearing 
liberty caps, sang in duet one of their original composi- 

De Vera, an Argentine by birth, had come to Chile to 
attend the University of Chile and had remained there as a 
practicing lawyer. At the very beginning of political 
unrest he had sprung into public notice because, previous 
to the establishment of the junta, he had been seized by 
the authorities and ordered for trial to Lima on a vessel 
waiting for him in the harbor of Valparaiso. Before his 
deportation, however, the revolutionary junta was estab- 
lished in Santiago. The mob assailed the prison where 
De Vera lay and releasing him escorted him in triumph 
through the streets. De Vera was then appointed secre* 


tary of the junta. He was associated also with Henriquez 
in the editing of the Aurora de Chile. Throughout his 
life he continued to be politically prominent. His most 
important literary work was the national hymn of Chile 
which he wrote in 1819. The first quatrain, expressing the 
idea that Chile would be either the tomb of the free or a 
refuge against oppression, was used as a refrain after each 
stanza. In 1847 it was felt that the sentiments of this 
hymn were too extreme and another national hymn was 
adopted in its place, though De Vera's hymn may still be 
heard at patriotic celebrations. 

Toward the end of 18 13 the military situation began to 
look black for the revolutionaries. Belgrano*s Argentine 
army had been annihilated in upper Peru. A second 
Spanish army sent from Lima completely worsted the 
Chileans under Bernardo O'Higgins and Carrera at 
Rancagua on October 12th, 18 14. A harsh period for 
patriots followed this reconquest of Chile. Those who 
escaped with their lives took refuge in Argentina. Henri- 
quez went to Buenos Aires where he took a prominent part 
in a literary movement along dramatic lines which was 
going on there. O'Higgins and others joined a new 
patriot army then drilling beyond the Andes. 

This army was the creation of Jose de San Martin 
(i 778-1 850). To his genius and hard work South America 
owes its independence. The son of a captain in the Spanish 
army stationed in Argentina, Jose had been taken to 
Spain at the age of eight for a military education. In the 
Spanish war for liberation from the domination of the 
French, he distinguished himself at the battle of Bailen 
and won the rank of lieutenant colonel. In 1812 he was 


induced by Carlos de Alvear, likewise of Argentine birth 
but belonging to a wealthy family of Buenos Aires, to 
accompany him to the land of his birth. On their arrival 
both assumed positions of prominence. San Martin was 
given command of a regiment of cavalry which speedily 
showed its mettle by beating a Spanish detachment. After 
Belgrano's defeat San Martin was put in general command 
of the Argentine army. He established a camp at Mendoza 
on the Argentine side of the Andes in September, 18 14. 
Without confiding to anybody his ultimate purpose he 
succeeded in two years in collecting an army of four 
thousand men thoroughly equipped with arms, provisions 
and means of transport. 

Early in 18 17, this army began its passage of the Andes, 
a military feat which surpasses any similar thing in history. 
Napoleon's crossing of the Great St. Bernard is renowned; 
but this pass has an altitude of 7963 feet whereas that of 
the Andes lies at 12,700 feet above the sea with a steep 
descent of 10,000 feet to the plains of Chile. At such a 
height both man and beast suffer from the terrible moun- 
tain sickness to which many succumb. The Spanish 
forces in Chile were awaiting San Martin's army but by 
means of false reports he succeeded so well in keeping them 
in ignorance of his intended way of approach that his 
men were clear of the loftier mountains before the first 
clash of arms. The main battle occurred on February 1 2th, 
1 8 17, at the pass of Chacabuco. O'Higgins in command of 
the Chilean contingent carried out a flanking movement so 
that the result of the battle was the complete destruction 
of the Spanish army. Within forty-eight hours San Martin 
had entered Santiago. The dictatorship of the country. 


which was offered him, was finally conferred on O'Higgins. 
And the absolute independence of Chile from Spain was 

The next year the Spaniards made a supreme effort to 
regain Chile. An army of veterans was sent from Lima. 
At the first contact with the patriots at Cancha Rayada 
they were victorious. But San Martin rallied the fugitives 
on his reserves. On April 5th, 181 8, was fought the battle 
of Maipu which terminated Spanish power in Chile. 

San Martin saw, however, the danger threatening Amer- 
ican independence so long as the viceroy at Lima remained 
in authority. Moreover the king of Spain was collecting a 
vast army at Cadiz for an attack on Buenos Aires. After 
the Argentine declaration of independence at Tucuman in 
1 816, the administrative control of the country had been 
largely in the hands of Juan Martin de Pueyrredon, but 
civil war had broken out and was paralyzing the country. 
Nevertheless San Martin set to work to provide a navy and 
transport ships for the purpose of assailing the viceroy in 
Peru. In this effort he found invaluable assistance in 
Lord Thomas Cochrane, Earl of Dundonald, an officer with 
a brilliant record in the English navy but temporarily in 
disgrace with the admiralty. Lord Cochrane*s fleet set 
sail with the combined Chilean and Argentine army on 
August 2 1st, 1820. His first exploit was a surprise attack 
with small boats on the largest Spanish vessel, the forty- 
four gun frigate, " Esmeralda." His boarding party cut 
her out at night from beneath the very guns of the forts 
at Callao and added her to his own fleet. The army was 
landed from the transports and, with but little fighting 
because the Spaniards withdrew into the mountains. 


entered Lima. San Martin organized a civil government 
and the independence of Peru was proclaimed on July 28th, 

The Spanish army under the viceroy Jose de la Serna, 
some twenty thousand men, had not however been dis- 
posed of but was still capable of vigorous resistance. The 
honor of accomplishing its destruction was reserved for one 
whose name is even more famous in South American 
annals, the Liberator, Simon Bolivar. But before dis- 
cussing his military career it will be advisable to consider 
the echoes in literature of these stirring events. 

The only Peruvian poet whose name was connected 
with the revolution was Mariano M elgai (1791-1815), 
and he was not of Lima but of the provincial capital 
Arequipa. He was a teacher of mathematics in the local 
university and joined the corps of artillery among other 
Spaniards who associated themselves with an uprising 
of the Indian population under the cacique Pumacagua 
in 1 8 13. General Ramirez operating under the orders of 
General Joaquin de la Pezuela, at that time facing Bel- 
grano's army, overcame the ill-organized patriot army 
at the field of Humachiri. Pumacagua was hanged and 
the white officers including Melgar were shot. After the 
poet's death his papers were entrusted by his sister to a 
priest who piously destroyed the poems which he thought 
of seditious character. One of Melgar*s political poems 
somehow preserved shows the vigor of the young man's 
mind. The lines depict the colossus of despotism falling 
beneath the blows of liberty to the amazement of man- 
kind. His non-political poems reveal the delicacy of feel- 
ing of a real poet. They are mainly imitations of popular 


poetry described by the native word "yaravi," a sort of 
plaintive love song not dissimilar in form from the Spanish 
letrilla. Many later poets have tried their hand at writing 
"yaravies.'* In honor of their patriot poet the citizens 
of Arequipa celebrated the centenary of his birth by erect- 
ing a statue of him in the public square. 

In Lima the revolution found but few sympathizers. 
Consequently the literature shows rather the loyalist 
phase of the situation. The University of San Marcos 
for example published the poems and speeches delivered 
upon the occasion of General Pezuela's accession to the 
viceroy alty in 1816. The victories of the Spanish troops 
at Rancagua and in Argentina over Belgrano had their 
panegyrists. But life in Lima flowed on with all its colo- 
nial nonchalance so that the most characteristic literary 
productions were the festive verses of an easy-going priest, 
Jose Joaquin de Larriva (1780-183 2), and his burlesque 
epic, La Angulada. With equal facility he could preach 
a sermon in praise of Pezuela in 18 16 and eulogize Bolivar 
in 1826. Other versifiers too there were who maintained 
the traditional Peruvian love of jest. 

The serious business of the revolution on the other hand 
continued to occupy all minds in Buenos Aires. A pro- 
lific versifier of political events was Fray Cayetano Rod- 
riguez (1761-1823). His lines, though badly written, at 
times incarnate the spirit of the revolution of May. Two 
sonnets of his, Al 25 de Mayo, and a national hymn re- 
tained for a long time their popularity because they ex- 
pressed a warm enthusiasm for liberty and a love of coun- 
try. He was one of the first to improvise on the victory of 
Chacabuco when the news of it reached the city. 


But the poet of greatest merit to follow in his verses 
the course of war was Esteban de Luc a (i 786-1 824). 
His odes A Chacabuco, Al Triunfo del Vice Almirante 
Lord Cochrane, Canto Lirico a la Libertad de Lima, all 
brought him praise. The last was especially rewarded 
by a gift of books presented by the government. Some- 
what different was his Al Pueblo de Buenos Aires, in which 
he exhorted the citizens to leave the town and devote their 
time to agriculture and the raising of cattle and horses. 
Beside being a poet Luca was an expert mathematician 
and metallurgist. As such he served his country in direct- 
ing the cannon foundry which provided Argentina with 
artillery. He lost his life in a shipwreck in the Rio de 
la Plata. This circumstance is commemorated by the 
greatest of Argentine poets, Andrade, in his Arpa per- 
dida, of which the last stanza feigns that travelers 
may hear on quiet nights the sound of the forgotten 
poet's lyre. 

The practice of writing patriotic poems was fostered 
by the custom prevailing in Buenos Aires of reciting them 
at evening parties. Two collections were printed, La 
Lira argentina, 1821, and Poesias patribticas, 1822, the 
second by order of the government. The first includes 
compositions written during the English invasion, un- 
fortunately without names of the authors. More useful 
to the student of literature is a collection printed in the 
Revista de Derecho, Historia y Letras, in 1898 and the 
following years with the title Cancionero popular. A 
characteristic of style, common to all the poems, a sup- 
posed embellishment^ but to modem taste a grave dis- 
figurement, is the introduction of classical allusions or a 


mythological machinery, Greek gods in South America, 
a last sigh of Gongorism. 

The mythological machinery was even more in evidence 
in plays of the period. The desire for dramatic enter- 
tainment excited by the recitation of patriotic verses was 
satisfied by the organization of a society, "La Sociedad 
del Buen Gusto," for the purpose of fostering the drama. 
The first meeting was held in July, 1817. Among the 
twenty-eight members were Lopez y Planes, De I^uca, 
and the Chilean refugee Camilojienriquez. Colonel Juan 
Ramon Rojas was the managing director. The plays 
produced were either originals by the members of the 
society or translations from French or English because 
the director pushed his patriotism to the extreme of re- 
fusing to admit to the stage plays written by Spaniards. 
Rojas himself wrote the first drama given, Cornelia Beror- 
quia, a tragedy of a young innocent girl condemned by 
the full tribunal of the inquisition. The scandal in Buenos 
Aires was tremendous. One lady who attended when 
asked about the play, said, — "To-night we cannot doubt 
that San Martin has passed the Andes and triumphed 
over the Spaniards in Chile." 

Camilo Henriquez contributed his Camila la patriota 
de Sud America. As this play was printed in a little vol- 
ume, now a bibliographical rarity, it is possible to learn 
much about the sentiments and ideas of the period. The 
action of the drama takes place on the banks of the river 
Marafion a few months after the slaughter of the patriots 
of Quito. A family has fallen into the hands of an Indian 
chief who declares that the daughter Camila must become 
the bride of his prime minister. Camila objects because 


she holds dear the memory of her husband Diego, one 
of the patriots fallen as she supposes by the hand of Span- 
ish murderers. The cacique insists on the marriage. 
When the so-called prime minister is presented, the whole 
affair proves to be a huge joke for the prime minister is 
no other than Diego. The chief purpose of the drama is 
to serve as a vehicle for Henriquez' ideas on education 
and tolerance in religion. He praises the Lancaster method 
of instruction as obviously advantageous. He lauds the 
industry and righteousness of the Quakers though "the 
burners hate them and would like to bum them all; per- 
verse men have made the king of Spain believe that the 
burners are the pillars of his throne." A paper which 
the cacique hands his prime minister contains Henriquez* 
own program for the welfare of South America. "First: 
to remedy the depopulation of America and its backward 
condition in arts and agriculture, it is necessary to attract 
immigration by impartial, tolerant and paternal laws. 
Second: if America does not forget its Spanish prejudices 
and adopt more liberal principles, it will never escape 
from the rule of a Spain beyond the seas, wretched and 
obscure as European Spain." 

Henriquez* tolerant religious principles were to bring 
him the wrath of the clerical party after his return to 
Chile. When his friends Bernardo O'Higgins and De 
Vera became influential, the one dictator, the other his 
secretary, they started a movement to invite Henriquez 
to Chile raising funds for his repatriation by popular 
subscription. There came with him Juan Crisostomo 
Lafinur (i 797-1 824) who had been an intimate friend and 
acquaintance of his in Buenos Aires. Together they 


immediately began in the press the propaganda of their 
liberal ideas. But their attempts at reform came to 
naught for they met violent opposition from the clergy. 
The latter were fortuitously assisted by a disastrous 
earthquake, called by them an act of God, a demon- 
stration of His anger at the impiety of the men encouraged 
by the dictator O'Higgins. 

Lafinur died during the struggle as the result of a fall 
from his horse. He has a place in the history of Argentine 
literature by reason of his elegies on General Belgrano at 
the time of the latter's death in 1820. Though other 
specimens of his verse exist the three elegies so exalt the 
love of country that they keep alive the author's name. 

Conditions in Buenos Aires about 1820 have been 
disclosed from a unique point of view in the dialogues of 
Chano y Contreras written by Bartolome Hidalgo (1787-?). 
Jacinto Chano, the overseer of a cattle ranch, converses 
with his friend the gaucho Ramon Contreras. The latter 
reviews somewhat pessimistically the advantages gained 
by the revolution. The poor still remain poor, though a 
few men in power are able to "spend money like rice." 
Chano says he has learned that before the law, he is the 
equal of any man. "Yes," replies Contreras, "but there 
are difficulties in the practice," and relates the contrast 
in the punishment of a rich man guilty of a notorious 
crime and that of a poor gaucho who for some trivial 
offense received the limit of the law. The ironical vein 
maintained in the description of certain civic events is 

Hidalgo's poems were a written imitation of the type of 
improvisation popular throughout Argentina. The custom 


brought from Andalusia of ballad recitation by an adept, 
or "payador," who, Hghtly strumming his guitar, begins 
to improvise in eight syllabled lines a narrative of some 
recent occurrence with original comments developed more 
widely on the pampas than elsewhere. The first to 
imitate in writing this popular poetry was J. B. Maziel 
in a ballad praising the viceroy's military exploits. Be- 
fore Hidalgo it was used by Juan Gualberto Godoy 
(1 793-1 824) for political purposes. He kept a store 
far out on the plains where he is said to have sold verses 
to local payadores and published a paper El Eco de los 
Andes with satirical poems in gaucho style. But Godoy*s 
work remained unknown till later writers made the gaucho 
type of verse one of the most original and entertaining 
features of Argentine literature. 

Despite the importance of the victories won in the south 
by San Martin, the ultimate independence of South 
America was due to the assistance which came to him 
from the north. In large measure was it due also to 
San Martin's noble-minded and unselfish patriotism, rare 
in Spanish-American annals, which prompted him to self- 
efFacement when that seemed the best course. When only 
his own withdrawal from the scene of active operations 
would assure the i5articipation of Bolivar and his troops 
in destroying the Spanish army under \the viceroy La 
Sema, the generous San Martin stood aside and even 
exiled himself from America. 

Simon Bolivar (i 783-1 830) was the greatest military 
and political genius which the revolution in Spanish 
America produced. Though a wealthy landowner, he 
made common cause with the uprising in Caracas, Vene- 


zuela, in April, 1810. Bolivar, Luis Lopez Mendez, and 
Andres Bello were despatched as commissioners to se- 
cure the sympathy and material aid of Great Britain. 
Bolivar's stay was short for he returned to Venezuela to 
serve in the army of General Miranda which was de- 
fending the country from the Spanish forces. The latter 
were successful in putting down the rebellion. Bolivar 
fled while Miranda was taken prisoner and sent to Spain. 
Bolivar then organized another army in Nueva Granada 
and fought his way to Caracas which he entered on Au- 
gust 4th, 1 8 13. The Spaniards, however, again won the 
upper hand. In the bloody guerilla warfare which fol- 
lowed, the patriots accomplished little for several years. 
In 1 8 19, however, a foreign legion of 2000 trained soldiers, 
mostly Irishmen, joined Bolivar. He learned that the 
Spanish soldiers in Bogota were to march to join those 
in Venezuela. By a brilliant manoeuvre, Bolivar led his 
men over the windswept lofty paramo and effected a 
union with the patriot army of Nueva Granada. He gave 
battle to the Spaniards at Boyaca on August 7th, 18 19, 
and destroyed their army. After his return to Venezuela 
Bolivar brought about the passage of a law by the revolu- 
tionary legislature erecting Venezuela and Nueva Granada 
into the Republic of Colombia of which he was to be presi- 
dent. Turning then his attention to the Spanish forces re- 
maining in Venezuela, he broke them at the battle of 
Carabobo, June 24th, 1821. There now remained in South 
America only that Spanish army which had retreated from 
Lima at the approach of San Martin's forces. 

Bolivar marched south by way of Popayan. Successful 
in taking Quito in June, 1822, he added that province to 



his new Republic of Colombia. The next month there 
took place in Guayaquil a famous conference lasting 
three days between Bolivar and San Martin. The details 
of this meeting have remained forever secret. But a 
letter written a month later by San Martin to Bolivar 
allows one to infer the reasons for San Martin's subse- 
quent conduct. In it he says, — "My determination is 
irrevocably fixed. I have called the first Congress of 
Peru for the 20th of next month, and on the day after 
its opening I shall sail for Chile, convinced that my pres- 
ence is the only obstacle which prevents your coming to 
Peru with the army under your command." San Martin 
evidently foresaw a civil war unless he gave way before 
Bolivar's immense personal ambition. 

For two years the Spanish army avoided contact. On 
August 26th, 1824, Bolivar won the great victory of 
Junin. But the final surrender of the Spaniards was not 
made till December 7th, after the battle of Ayacucho, 
where the patriot army was commanded by Antonio 
Jose de Sucre (i 793-1 830). The next summer a general 
assembly of Upper Peru met and declared itself the Re- 
public of Bolivia. General Sucre was elected the first 

Bolivar's personal fortunes took him back to Caracas 
from which as his capital he attempted to administer the 
Republic of Colombia. Its extent, however, was so vast 
and its parts so diverse that after Bolivar's death, Sep- 
tember 17th, 1830, it split up into the three republics, 
Venezuela, Ecuador, and Nueva Granada. The latter 
reassumed the same name Colombia in 1861. 
-\ Just as Bolivar's greatest campaign against the Span** 



iards took place in Peru, so it was reserved for a native 
of a Peruvian province, now a part of Ecuador, to com- 
pose the most remarkable poem written about his mili- 
tary success. So excellent is the classical finish of its style 
that the Spanish critic Menendez y Pelayo refers to Jose 
Joaquin Olmedo (i 780-1 847) as, "one of the three or 
four great Spanish-American poets, if not the first." 

Bolivar requested Olmedo to write some verses in cele- 
bration of the battles of Junin and Ayacucho. In the 
general's correspondence is found a long letter from 
Olmedo dated January 31st, 1825, in which the poet 
says: — "I regret that you recommend me to sing our 
last triumphs. For a long time I have been revolving 
that thought in my mind. Junin came and I began my 
song; I should say I began to form plans. . . . Ayacucho 
came and I awoke uttering a thunder, (Olmedo here al- 
ludes to the opening Hnes of his ode) but I have made 
little progress. Everything I produce seems poor and 
inferior to the subject, I erase, tear up, correct; and 
always it is bad. I have persuaded myself that my muse 
cannot measure her strength with this giant. I was 
proud because I expected to make a composition which 
would bear me with you to immortality but I confess 
myself downcast." 

Olmedo did win by his ode the immortality which he 
craved. Its opening peal of thunder, 

El trueno horrendo, que en fragor revienta 

Y sordo retumbando se dilata 

For la inflamada esfera, 

Al Dios anuncia que en el cielo impera, 

IS an evident paraphrase of Horace's, 


Caelo tonantem credidimus lovem regnare: III, 5. 
The poet then sees and describes the leaders as the battle 
begins. Suddenly the sword of Bolivar appears and 
eclipses all the warriors as the sun eclipses all the stars. 
Darkness comes on before the victory is complete; while 
the soldiers are singing hymns of triumph, a voice calls 
from on high in the heavens, the voice of the Inca, 
Huaina-Capac. They behold his illuminated figure as he 
reveals his personality. After recapitulating the horrors 
that had occurred on American soil since the conquest, he 
discloses the progress of the next fight at Ayacucho, de- 
scribes the place of the battle and names the patriots who 
will distinguish themselves, especially the leader Sucre. 

In regard to him Olmedo wrote, "Sucre is a hero, is 
my friend and deserves an ode for himself; at present 
enough immortality will fall to his share by being named 
in an ode dedicated to Bolivar." 

The Inca continues by praising the new era of peace 
and prosperity that stands before, but urges on the Amer- 
icans the necessity of union "in order to be free and never 
conquered." He is interrupted by the virgins of the sun 
who intone a hymn beseeching the continued protection 
of the sun as the ancient god of Peru. On the city of 
Lima the virgins make demand that she open her gates 
and receive Bolivar in triumph. At the close of the song 
the Inca and the virgins disappear behind a golden cloud. 

As Bolivar was not himself present at the final victory 
the poet was obliged to connect the two battles in a 
manner that would not lessen the importance of Bolivar. 
Yet the means chosen, the apparition of the Inca, has 
raised a veritable critics' battle. Bolivar himself called 


Hualna-Capac "the hero of the poem." Bello praises 
the poetical device, while Miguel A. Caro ridicules the 
words of the Inca who exclaims to the assembled patriots, 
"You are all my children," and his offer to Bolivar as a 
reward a place in heaven at his own right hand. But 
Manuel Caiiete sums up the criticisms justly. "We see 
Olmedo rise to the clouds borne by inspiration and find 
accents, if not superior to all, not inferior to any of our 
best lyric poets, whenever he exclaims what has stirred 
his heart. But he falls when he leaves the luminous 
sphere of truth and sinks into the labyrinth of the arti- 
ficial. The reader, however, forgets the defects of the 
poem, thanks to the animation, the movement, the sublime 
inspiration with which the author has succeeded in ex- 
pressing and developing the idea." 

The Liberator was evidently satisfied with Olmedo's 
poem for he named him plenipotentiary of Peru in London, 
for which city he left Guayaquil on August 5, 1825. 
Canete thinks it is unjust to Olmedo to attribute his ap- 
pointment entirely to the poem, because Bolivar was a 
good judge of men and he needed a superior person for 
the mission. 

The next year Olmedo published the poem in London 
and Paris, with the title La Victoria de Junin, Canto a 
Bolivar, In regard to it, Olmedo wrote to Bolivar: "The 
canto is being printed with great elegance. It bears 
the portrait of the hero; and a medallion representing the 
apparition and oracle of the Inca in the clouds. The 
canto needs all these externals in order to appear decently 
among foreign peoples." It is interesting to note that the 
plates of the Paris edition are in color and that the por- 


trait of Bolivar which Olmedo termed "medianamente 
parecido" is the one which has been most widely repro- 

Olmedo's sojourn in EurOpe^ as divided between Lon- 
don and Paris. He thus came into close intercourse with 
Andres Bello and Fernandez Madrid and his correspond- 
ence with them has been preserved. The former pub- 
lished in the second volume of the Repertorio Americano, 
Olmedo's poem, A un amigo en el nacimiento de su primo- 
genito, as well as a critical notice by himself on the Vic^ 
toria de Junin. 

Olmedo did not, however, long remain in Europe. An 
intense love for his native province of Guayaquil charac- 
terized the man and greatly influenced the course of his 
life. As a student he lived in Lima where he obtained the 
degree of doctor of law. In 1810, he went to Spain to 
represent Guayaquil in the Cortes of Cadiz and was one 
of the members who refused to recognize Fernando VII 
until he swore to the constitution. Returning to his own 
country in 18 14 he took an active part in political affairs 
and was elected to the Peruvian constitutional congress 
of 1822 in which he advocated a separate establishment 
for the provinces now known as Ecuador. Therein he 
was an opponent of Bolivar, but the Liberator's great vic- 
tories turned him into an ardent admirer. Sent to Europe 
in 1825, he returned in 1828. Ecuador became a separate 
republic in 1830 and Olmedo was elected its first vice- 
president, an office which he soon resigned in order to 
become prefect of Guayaquil as he desired to live in that 
city. He continued active in politics until his death in 


His poems are few in number for the reason that he 
wrote only when he felt inspired and took great care in 
their rhetorical finish. Amunategui enumerates four 
translations and ten original compositions. Of the former 
the most important is a rendering of the first three epistles 
of Pope*s Essay on Man. His first original poem is a 
Silva a la muerte de Maria Antonia de Borhon, princesa 
de Asturias, published in Lima, 1807. The poet repre- 
sents the innocent princess as an expiatory victim chosen 
by God who is angry at the sins of the Spaniards. As 
God accepts the sacrifice, the poet urges his avenging 
angel to announce that God's wrath has been appeased 
and that the English who were preparing to attack Buenos 
Aires would be overthrown. As a note to this composi- 
tion, Olmedo wrote: "Two months after this composi- 
tion was written, ten thousand English attack the city 
of Buenos Aires and are beaten and obliged to surrender 
by its inhabitants.'* 

His poem Mi retrato, 18 17, gives us the portrait of a 
tall thin man with brown hair and eyes, a broad forehead, 
a large nose of which he is proud because therein he re- 
sembles the poets Virgil, Homer and Ovid, fine even teeth, 
a thin beard and a face much pitted from small-pox like 
the sky with the stars. His acquaintances describe him 
as agreeable in character with a large fund of knowledge 
which Olmedo himself ascribed to his own efforts rather 
than to his schooling. 

The grandiloquent rhetoric of the Victoria de Junin 
was repeated in a poem which Olmedo composed in 1835 
to General FloreSy Vencedor en Minarica. As sheer rhetoric 
there are passages which are very fine, for example, the 


spirited description of the General's horse. As the sub- 
ject of the poem is the victory of a partisan chief, the 
Hnes often strike the reader as bombast, especially when 
the poet urges the lofty peak of Chimborazo, king of the 
Andes, to bow his head because the victor passes. 

Juan Jose Flores (1801-64) was not to be outdone in 
compliments. He also dabbled in verse-making and be- 
gins his Ocios poeticos with the line, 

i Que vida tan feliz, Omero mio! 

He stars Omero and explains in a footnote: "Allusion to 
Olmedo, wherefore the H is suppressed." 

Another poet to hail Bolivar's victories as worthy of 
great renown was the Colombian Jose Fernandez Madrid 
(i 784-1 830), already referred to as one of Olmedo's 
friends in Europe. Some suspect that Fernandez Madrid 
also owed his appointment as Colombia's minister plen- 
ipotentiary in London to his laudatory verses in which 
within the space of ten lines he compared Bolivar to all 
the great men of antiquity. In another passage the 
Peruvian Incas, raising their heads from the tomb, joy- 
fully salute three times the great champion, while the 
volcanoes Pichincha and Chimborazo roar with indigna- 
tion at the oppressors of America. Such hyperbolical 
exaggeration reveals the spirit of the times. 

Fernandez Madrid played an important role in the 
revolution in Colombia. A member of the first revolu- 
tionary junta organized in Cartagena de las Indias, 18 10, 
he became the leader of the defense when the city was 
besieged by the Spaniards. He was also a member of the 
united provinces of Venezuela and Nueva Granada and 


was named as their president in 1816 during the lowest 
ebb of their military fortunes. Falling into the hands of 
the Spanish forces, he saved his life by writing to the 
Spanish general Morillo that he had accepted the pres- 
idency only in the king's interest. He was ordered de- 
ported to Spain but, on account of illness, he never went 
beyond Havana, where he was soon set at liberty. After 
Bolivar's successful campaigns, Fernandez Madrid again 
became prominent in politics. As confidential agent of the 
republic of Colombia he was in Parts at the time of his 
appointment to be her minister in London. 

In this city he published a volume of his verses, 1828, 
and two dramas, Atala, based on Chateaubriand's romance 
of that name, and Guatimoc. These plays are specimens of 
the enthusiastic attempt at play writing which flourished 
in Bogota during the revolution. Fernandez Madrid, as 
a versifier on occasional topics, is fluent and amusing. 
"Hail, doubly hail, him who invented the hammock," 
he cries in the refrain to some stanzas in which he sings the 
advantages of that blessing to humanity. To his friend 
Andres Bello, he sends some playful lines to accompany a 
bottle of wine, "a dose of joy," at the baptism of the lat- 
ter's infant daughter. As a patriotic poet Fernandez 
Madrid obtains a certain forcefulness by the use of ep- 
igrammatic balance. He sees Colombia rise from her 
wounds, "majestic, full of wounds, but victorious; poor 
but avenged, and independent." Though he execrates the 
Spaniards for their crimes, yet he recognizes them as 
brothers in blood afid urges a spiritual union between 
"the Hispanic lion and the American condor." 

Two other Colombians who produced patriotic verses 


worthy of mention were Jose Maria de Salazar (1785- 
1828) and Luis Vargas Tejada (1802-29). Salazar 
first exercised his poetic talents in El Placer publico de 
Santa Fe de Bogota^ a. complimentary poem to celebrate 
the arrival of the viceroy in 1804. In his student days he 
was one of the first to write original pieces actually pro- 
duced on the stage in Bogota. His Soliloquio de Eneas 
and El Sacrificio de Idomeneo materially assisted in the 
movement to restore the theater in that capital. Joining 
the revolutionary movement he became conspicuous as 
the author of the first national hymn of Colombia. Boli- 
var's victory at Boyaca called forth some stirring lines 
from his pen, for which Bolivar later rewarded him by ap- 
pointment as the Colombian minister in Paris. 

Luis Vargas Tejada was called by his fellow country- 
men their Andre Chenier on account of the violence of his 
sentiments on liberty. These were expressed in tragedies 
written for the stage in Bogota and especially in the tragic 
monologues Caton en Utica and La Muerte de Pausanias. 
The youthful poet thought to turn his fanatic politics 
into action by joining a conspiracy to assassinate Bolivar. 
He escaped the fate of his fellow conspirators by hiding 
in a cave for fourteen months. As he died insane from this 
experience a tragic interest was added to his poetical work. 

Though Bolivar's exploits inspired so many patriotic 
lines, yet in his own country, Venezuela, there was little 
literary response to them. In fact conditions there were 
distinctly unfavorable to literary enterprise. Not only 
was the capital Caracas frequently the headquarters of 
the Spanish army, but the war was waged with absorbing 
and merciless bitterness throughout the country. Ven- 


ezuela was, however, the birthplace of the greatest of all 
Spanish-American literary men, Andres Bello (1781-1865). 
But the scene of his activity during the revolutionary 
epoch was London, far from the strife of arms. 

Bello, from that viewpoint, was more largely interested 
in Spanish America as a whole. After the American re- 
publics had been firmly established he was invited to Chile, 
where his influence on matters of education and literature 
became tremendous. It seems almost as if he led the lives 
of two different men. In London to the age of forty-eight 
he eked out a narrow existence, always studying as though 
at school. In Chile for thirty-five years more he poured 
forth his accumulated wisdom for the benefit of the sons of 
his adopted country. The first period of Bello's life em- 
^ braced the epoch of the separation of the Spanish colonies 
from Spain; the second their first efforts at the upbuilding 
of new nationalities. 

Largely self-taught, the course of Bello's life is fore- 
shadowed by his youth. He was both a precocious child 
and a constant reader. At the age of eleven he saved his 
pennies to buy a cheap edition issued in parts of Calder6n*s 
plays. At school he distinguished himself in Latin. He 
made there the acquaintance of friends who were to assist 
him in getting a start in life, especially the younger sons of 
the Ustariz family, persons of wealth and culture. In their 
home where they had the habit of reading poems aloud 
after dinner, Bello found inspiration for his earliest verses, 
certain translations or paraphrases of Latin. Urged by his 
friends he undertook the study of both French and Eng- 
lish. For the latter language he used as a text-book, 
Locke's Essay on the Understanding. 


When he left school Luis Ustariz obtained for him a 
position in the government office as undersecretary. In 
1808 he was appointed secretary. As it was his task to 
translate the French and English letters, it fell to his lot 
that same year to be the medium through which the news 
of the fall of Carlos IV became known in Venezuela. He 
also played a part in the events which led to the uprising in 
Caracas on April 19th, 18 10. As in the other Spanish 
colotiies, there was established a junta or committee to 
govern ostensibly in the name of Fernando VII. The 
junta sent Bello as one of three commissioners, the other 
two were Luis Lopez Mendez and Simon Bolivar, to 
London for the purpose of obtaining assistance for the 
revolution. But they received little encouragement from 
the British cabinet. 

In Venezuela the revolution maintained itself until 
there occurred on March 26th, 181 2, a severe earthquake 
on account of which many thousand persons in Caracas 
lost their lives. The royalist party, assisted by the priests 
who spread the idea that this event was God*s punishment 
for rebellion, successfully prosecuted a counter revolution 
and restored Spanish rule. Bello was thus left stranded in 
London without money. Once even he came near being 
put in jail for his personal debts. Bolivar, a man of means, 
left London to work on his plans for the military accom- 
plishment of independence for Venezuela. But Bello 
remained in London for nineteen years. 

His friends aided him in finding means of support. The 
Spanish language being then fashionable in London, he 
obtained many private pupils. By 18 14 he considered 
himself able to marry. His most influential friend at this 


period was Jose Blanco White, a former Spanish priest of 
Irish parentage, who had left his native Seville to settle in 
London. He introduced Bello to Mr. Hamilton, Secretary 
of State for India, to whose children he became tutor in 
1816. Among his English friends were the philosophers 
James Mill and Jeremy Bentham, and he is said to have 
been employed at one time to decipher the latter's man- 
uscript. From his intercourse with them, he may have 
derived some of the ideas that guided his scientific studies. 
During his sojourn in London, Bello was constantly 
studying. First he learned to read Greek from the books 
in the library of an English friend. His leisure time he 
spent in the library of the British Museum. As results 
\j of his study he published a modern Spanish rendering of 
the Poema del Cid with accompanying notes and a study 
of the Cronique de Turpin. Both of these show original 
and sound critical thought. Next he made his version 
of Berni's Orlando Innamorato; which Menendez y Pelayo 
terms the best translation in Spanish of any long Italian 
poem. Moreover, he was deeply interested in educational 
questions about which he published various discussions in 
the Repertorio Americano. This was Bello's contribution 
edited in company with the Colombian Garcia del Rio, to 
the various periodicals in Spanish which appeared in 
London during the revolutionary period. 

A periodical ja Spanish, El Espanol, had been founded 
in London by Blanco White and conducted by him from 
1810 to 1814. In 1820 the Guatemalan, A. J. de Irisarri 
published a few numbers of El Censor Americano to 
which Bello contributed. On his own account Bello 
began, 1823, the Biblioteca Americana, which soon sus- 


pended. Money to pay for such a publication even though 
well received in South America was slow and difficult to 

Undaunted, however, he launched, 1826, a quarterly, El 
Repertorio Americano and continued it for four numbers. 
The editor's purpose is set forth in the first volume. "For 
years, lovers of American civilization have desired the 
publication of a periodical which would defend with the 
interest of their own cause the independence and liberty 
of the new states established in that new world upon the 
ruins of Spanish dominion." The contents of the periodi- 
cal were, however, but slightly political. They comprised 
encyclopedic information on such topics as literary criti- 
cism, the orthography of the Spanish language, agriculture, 
science and education. Original poems formed one of its 
attractive features and here were first published Olmedo's 
poem. En el nacimiento de su primogenito and his transla- 
tion of Horace's Ode XIV. Lib I; Garcia Goyena's Canto 
a la Independencia de Guatemala; and a few poems of the 
Mexican Navarrete. The opening pages of the first 
number contained Bello's own masterpiece, a Silva a la 
Agricultura de la Zona torrida. 

Bello had conceived the idea of a vast poem-t© be^n- 
titled America. Of this he wrote its introduction, Alocu- 
cion a la Poesia, and the Silva just mentioned. The 
latter puts him in the front rank of American poets and 
admits him even in the judgment of Menendez y Pelayo 
to the category of those who have most artistically manip- 
ulated the Spanish language. In the former poem, which 
first appeared in the Bihlioteca Americana^ Bello invites 
the muses to leave Europe where an artificial culture. 


based on the power of gold, reigns preeminent and where 
nature is supreme and bestows on each its own peculiar 
beauty which the poet describes. In the silva to the 
Agricultura de la Zona torrida, Bello presents the varied 
beauty of the tropics, its color, its rich perfume, the rare 
products of its cultivated fields, bounded by distant snow- 
capped mountains, and finally urges the possessors of 
this paradise to enjoy it in peace and union. 

There is a certain resemblance between the two poems; 
the lists of plants and their epithets are almost identical, 
and an occasional line of the earlier is repeated in the 
later poem. Besides there are reminiscences of Virgil's 
Georgics. While Bellows poetry therein resembles other 
Spanish classicists, Menendez y Pelayo finds him the 
possessor of an original note "not to be confused with any 
of his contemporaries. ... He is a consummate master 
of poetic diction, learnedly picturesque, laboriously pol- 
ished." His picturesque originality consists in appeals to 
the senses when he speaks of the "snowy fleece of the 
cotton," "the white jasmins of the coffee," "the living 
carmine of the flowers," epithets which seem to the critic 
to give a "strange flavor both Latin and American." 

Bellows diplomatic activity continued during his entire 
sojourn in London. As a means of livelihood, however, 
its pecuniary return was uncertain even after the revolu- 
tion was successful. In 1822 he accepted appointment as 
secretary for the legation of Chile, a place which he re- 
signed in November, 1824, to become secretary for the 
legation of Colombia. Just before accepting this position 
he married his second wife, Isabella Dunn. 

Though his old friend Bolivar was now president of 


Colombia, Bello still received only a meager salary in 
irregular payments. He did not join the chorus of those 
who wrote fulsome verses to the Liberator, a fact which 
the latter probably resented, for there exists a letter 
written by Bolivar from Quito in which he says of Bello : 
"His coldness has kept us separated to a certain degree." 

The truth may be that Bello's long residence in England, 
or his intellectual pursuits had subdued his native Vene- 
zuelan fire. The political odes which he wrote, Himno de 
Colombia and Cancion a la Disolucion de Colombia, lacked 
so much of the exaggerated rhetorical style then in vogue, 
that by the advice of his friend, Fernandez Madrid, they 
were not published. The same chilliness of inspiration 
marks the ode, Al 18 de Septiembre, by which he signalized 
his arrival in Chile. 

He was invited to Chile by President Prieto in 1829, 
who offered him the post of chief secretary for foreign 
affairs at a good salary, and an allowance of three hundred 
pounds for traveling expenses. From the day of reaching 
Chile Bello became closely identified with the intellectual 
movement of his adopted country, so that his career 
belongs with it rather than with his native Venezuela. 

As the representative Venezuelan writer of prose during 
the revolutionary period, it is necessary to look to Simon 
Bolivar, however strange it may seem to think of the 
successful general, the Liberator, as a literary man. Yet 
in his speeches and his voluminous correspondence, re- 
cently edited by R. Blanco Fombona, he reveals an ener- 
getic style typical of the man. His speeches to his soldiers 
were apparently modeled after those of Napoleon with 
whom his contemporaries so fondly compared him. A 


fair example of them is the proclamation issued when he 
returned to Bogota, on November 23rd, 1826: — "Colom- 
bians! Five years ago I left this capital to march at the 
head of the liberating army from the banks of the Cauca 
to the silver-bearing heights of Potosi. A million Colom- 
bians, two sister republics, have obtained independence 
in the shadow of our banners. And the world of Columbus 
has ceased to be Spanish. Such has been our absence." 



In North America the course of the revolution was 
different from that on the southern continent. Of the two 
principal centers, Mexico and Cuba, the former emerged 
from the period as an independent repubHc, while the 
latter became a refuge for royalists. Moreover the Mex- 
ican revolution, unlike those occurring in South America, 
did not begin in the capital but in the provinces, and in- 
stead of originating with an intellectual class who fed its 
fires with argument and impassioned verse, the first out- 
break in Mexico was the affair of provincials, many of 
them of pure Indian blood, led by a rural priest, Miguel 
Hidalgo. The literary expression of events was subsequent 
to them by many years. On the other hand, the greatest 
revolutionary poet, Jose Maria Heredia, whose unsur- 
passed verses were filled with burning inspiration and 
revolt, was a Cuban. In his country there took place 
nothing more than a mild conspiracy, easily suppressed, 
in which the poet was himself implicated. But Heredia 
during the impressionable years of youth lived and wrote 
in Mexico. 

During the first decade of the nineteenth century there 
acted as viceroys of Mexico a succession of incompetent 
men whose chief aim in governing appeared to be the rapid 



accumulation of personal wealth. Resentment at their 
measures of taxation caused the formation of conspiracies 
in various parts of the country, especially after the home 
difficulties of Spain became known. One of these con- 
spiracies was led by Ignacio Allende who organized military 
forces in various towns assisted by the counsel and in- 
fluence of Miguel Hidalgo, parish priest of the village 
Dolores in the mining region of Guanajuato. Before their 
preparations were completed, Allende learning that their 
plans had been betrayed to the authorities, so informed 
Hidalgo late one night. Undismayed, the latter replied, 
"We must act at once, there is no time to lose." The 
next morning, September i6th, 1810, a Sunday, Hidalgo, 
instead of conducting the usual service, harangued the 
men of the village from the church steps and bade them 
follow him to liberty. This was the famous "Grito de 
Dolores," the cry to arms, from which dates the revolution 
in Mexico. The i6th of September is celebrated as the 
Mexican national holiday. 

Hidalgo's little band steadily increased in numbers as 
they marched from village to village. A picture of Nuestra 
Seiiora de Guadelupe served as a banner under which to 
rally. In a week a horde of fifty thousand men, mainly 
Indians, armed with improvised weapons and a few mus- 
kets, had assembled. Their first objective was the city of 
Guanajuato, a mining center, where in a strong warehouse 
of stone, known as the "alhondiga de granaditas," was 
stored bullion to the value of 3S,ooo,ooo. The place was 
defended by five hundred Spanish troops. Though their 
musketry caused great slaughter in the assaulting mob 
crowded in the narrow streets, they were forced to yield 



by the disparity in numbers. That night the town itself 
suffered pillage and burning such as has always marked 
revolutions in Mexico. 

Then Hidalgo took up his march on the capital. The 
viceroy Venegas hastily collected such troops as he could. 
In the first encounters the royalist soldiers were defeated, 
but Hidalgo, being no soldier and his army a mob, was 
unable to take advantage of his successes. Instead of 
advancing steadily on Mexico city, he discouraged his 
forces by turning back. He occupied his time by trying 
to establish an organized government. He issued proc- 
lamations emancipating the slaves, restoring the land to 
the Indians, and calling a congress. 

The royalist troops meanwhile were put under the 
command of Felix Calleja del Rey, an efficient soldier, 
who for his successes was later appointed viceroy. Cal- 
leja*s army came into contact with Hidalgo's mob on 
January 17th, 181 1, at the bridge of Calderon, where, 
favored by an extraordinary piece of luck, for the dry 
grass taking fire the flames and smoke were driven into 
the faces of the insurgents, Calleja completely routed the 
hosts of his opponents. A month later Allende and 
Hidalgo were taken prisoners, and after a formal trial were 

The direction of the rebellion fell to a friend and pupil 
of Hidalgo, also a priest and a younger man with a greater 
capacity for leadership, Jose Maria Morelos. He kept the 
field against the royalists until 1815 when he too was cap- 
tured and executed. Among the exploits of these four 
years, one of the most famous was the defense of the city 
of Cuautla, from which after several months of siege, he 


and his forces succeeded in escaping. Morelos also carried 
out important plans for the organization of an insurgent 
government. A national congress was assembled which 
drew up a written constitution for Mexico. After Morelos' 
death the insurgents became mere marauding bands which 
were gradually hunted down. 

In 1820 occurred in Spain the revolutionary movement 
making the liberal Cortes temporarily supreme. In 
Mexico the privileged classes of the city felt that the time 
had come for seeking independence. As military leader 
was selected Agustin de Iturbide . who had been one of the 
most active generals in the campaign against Morelos. 
Under pretense of putting down a rebel band then vigorous 
under Vicente^uerrero, he left the city with a few thou- 
sand soldiers which were later increased in number by 
the unsuspecting viceroy. At the proper moment JLuir- 
b ide. divulged to his troops his real intentions in which 
they acquiesced. On February 24th, 1821, he promul- 
gated a manifesto, since known as the "Plan de Iguala.'* 
/ It declared for the absolute independence of Mexico, 
the Roman Catholic faith as the state religion, an absolute 
monarchy as the form of government with a member of 
the Spanish royal family for ruler, the maintenance of all 
existing institutions of property and privileges, the estab- 
lishment of a junta to rule until the selection of a monarch 
and the support of the three guarantees of Independence, 
Religion, and Unity, symbolized respectively in the na- 
tional colors, green, white, and red. 

This revolution was entirely aristocratic and reactionary 
against the liberal tendencies at work in Spain. The 
privileged classes in Mexico were afraid of interference 


with their rights by the democratic Spanish Cortes which 
had won the upper hand in the contest with the King 
Fernando VII. Some Mexicans even proposed inviting 
the King to become Emperor of Mexico. 

In consequence of the origin and character of the revo- 
lution, Iturbide met with Httle resistance. The garrisons 
of the provincial towns joined his forces. The main body 
of insurgents led by Guerrero agreed to the plan and the 
whole army entered Mexico city. A little later when a 
new viceroy Juan O'Donaju, sent by the Cortes, arrived, 
he found no soldiers to assist him. So he signed a treaty, 
for which the Cortes had given him authority, acknowledg- 
ing the independence of Mexico. It is interesting to note 
that in this treaty of Cordova, signed in August, 1821, 
occurs the first instance of the use of the name Mexico to 
designate officially the whole country which the Spaniards 
from the time of its discovery had called Nueva Espafia. 

For a few months Mexico was governed by the junta 
presided over by Iturbide. Then in February of 1822, 
the latter by a coup d'etat caused himself to be proclaimed 
Emperor of Mexico. The costly magnificence with which 
he set up his court and his various pretensions made him 
ridiculous and distrusted. It was not long before he was 
deposed and banished. The Mexican Congress estab- 
lished a federal republic of which Guadelupe Victoria, 
one of the leaders in Morelos' army, was elected the first 
president. A sentence of death was passed on Iturbide 
in case he should return to Mexico. The latter, apparently 
unaware of this decree, did land there in July, 1824, and 
in three days was shot without a trial. 

About Iturbide and his fortunes clusters most of the 


revolutionary literature. Typical is the vigorous ode 
/ Al i6 de Septiembre de 1821, by Andres Quintana Roo 
(1787-185 1). First it presents a picture of the Iberian 
triumph over the Mexicans led by Hidalgo. His example 
fires the noble soul of Morelos, but in spite of his efforts 
to achieve liberty for the Mexicans, fortune reserves the 
supreme glory for Iturbide, "whose name surpasses that 
of the others as much as the brilliance of the moon out- 
shines the numberless stars in the firmament." 

Quintana Roo was a native of Yucatan and the Mexicans 
have commemorated his years of service to his country 
by naming a territory in that peninsula after him. In 
the same way states have been named for Hidalgo, More- 
los, and Guerrero. After Iturbide's fall, Quintana Roo 
edited various political journals in which he expressed 
in vigorous prose a high-minded position on public affairs. 
Verses by the Cuban poet Heredia exist praising Quintana 
Roo for daring to oppose certain arbitrary and tyrannical 
acts of the government. Quintana Roo's verses are well 
written for he was a student of prosody and published 
critical articles concerning it. 
X Another native of Yucatan, Wenceslao Alpuche 
(1804-41), struck in his odes a strongly patriotic note 
with almost epic intonation. His most famous one, A 
Hidalgo, reviews the bloody course of Mexican history; 
then after an apostrophe to liberty, Alpuche declares that 
Hidalgo, like Leonidas and Washington, was inspired 
by her. Realistically portraying Hidalgo's hour of death, 
he urges Mexicans to look on the hero's remains as he 
prophesies that from the ground fertilized by Hidalgo's 
blood will spring avengers. In a similar strain Alpuche 


sang the death of Morelos, in his ode Al Suplicio de Mo- 

Morelos' most famous exploit, the escape from the 
siege of Cuautla, was immortalized by Francisco Manuel 
Sanchez de Tagle (i 782-1 847), who described it in his 
poem Romance Heroico de la Salida de Morelos de Cuautla, 
Being a city man Sanchez de Tagle was more especially 
enthusiastic over Iturbide in whose honor he indited 
several poems. In a political capacity he was associated 
with that leader, for he was one of those who composed 
the Declaration of Independence of the year 1821. As a 
poet Sanchez de Tagle was prolific and is considered the 
principal representative of classicism in Mexico. After 
his death there was published by his son a volume of his 
verse, mainly love lyrics and religious pieces in classical 
style. One of his earliest poems in point of time consists 
of verses of occasion to celebrate the erection in Mexico 
of a statue of Carlos IV. The poet owed much to the 
fact that he attracted the attention of the viceroy who 
appointed him a professor in the university. The promi- 
nence of such a man in the revolution of 1820 shows how 
different was its character from that of previous revolu- 
tionary efforts. 

The admiration of Iturbide in its extreme form is re- 
vealed in the poems of Anastasio de Ochoa y Acuiia 
(i 783-1 833). His earliest writings were satiric and festive 
lines and translations, especially of dramas. In 1813 was 
produced his original drama Don Alfonso. The best of 
his patriotic odes is El Grito de Independencia. In this 
he compares Spanish tyranny to a cloud such as a shepherd 
sees approaching with the destructive force of a whirl- 


wind about to overwhelm his humble home. Like the 
tempest are the misfortunes of Mexico where only a hand- 
ful of patriots are fighting for liberty. But while Iturbide 
lives there is hope, and in anticipation of his ultimate 
success, the poet congratulates "the American Mars'* on 
his good fortune and triumph. 

But Iturbide's assumption of the crown as Emperor of 
Mexico aroused indignation and denunciation such as 
was expressed in the ode A Iturbide en su Coronacion by 
Francisco Ortega (i 793-1 849). This ode deserves a 
place as a classic invective against ambition. The poet 
urges Iturbide to listen to the voice of patriotism and 
turn aside from false ambition. His true glory lies in 
having achieved the independence of a people and not 
in occupying a throne. Ortega enjoyed the distinction 
of having written an allegorical melodrama, Mexico 
Libre, which was produced as a part of the official celebra- 
tion of the oaths of independence on October 27th, 1821. 
In allegorical style Ortega wrote much other patriotic 
verse, in which Liberty assisted by Mars and Pallas favors 
America while Despotism and Discord are put to rout. 
In the allegorical vein Ortega's longest poem is La Venida 
del Espiritu Santo, to a large extent a paraphrase of the 
first book of Milton's Paradise Lost, and yet worthy to 
rank among the world's religious epics. The poem deals 
with the opposition of Satan and his legions to the apostles. 
The chief characters are Satan and St. Paul. The first 
canto consists of a review of the forces of darkness in 
which Moloch is represented by Huitzilopochtli, the war 
god of the ancient Mexicans to whom their bloody human 
sacrifices were made. Important episodes of the poem 


are the triumph of St. Stephen, the conversion of St. Paul 
and the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles, 
an event which Satan contemplates with scornful sneers. 
One writer of prose who lived during the revolutionary 
period in Mexico deserves mention, Jose Joaquin Fernan- 
dez de Lizardi (i 774-1 827). From 181 2 to 1826, under 
the name of " El Pensador Mexicano," he was the cham- 
pion pamphleteer of the revolution. In this capacity he 
defended the ecclesiastics who, stimulated by the example 
of Hidalgo, had supported the revolution by bearing arms. 
For his bold utterances he was thrown into prison by the 
viceroy Venegas in spite of that provision of the constitu- 
tion of 181 2 guaranteeing the liberty of the press. How- 
ever, he was soon released. Then he gave forth his ideas 
upon the condition of Mexico and its needs by publishing 
in 1 8 16 a picaresque novel. El Periquillo Sarniento. 

This book, though written with a distinctly didactical 
purpose, is still read for the amusing character of the in- 
cidents. Like Gil Bias, the hero penetrates all classes of 
Mexican society, examining its virtues and vices, especially 
. those which its author wishes to praise or flagellate. The 
title is a nickname, by explaining which the writer desires 
to discourage the habit of calling names. The hero's 
name Pedro had been turned by his schoolmates into 
Periquillo because he was sent to school dressed in a green 
jacket and yellow pantaloons, the colors of the plumage 
of the common Mexican parrot; and in order to dis- 
tinguish this Pedro from another, the additional title 
Sarniento, derived from a malady which he suflFered, was 
bestowed upon him. The practical result of his schooling 
at the hands of various ignorant teachers was to make 


him able to contend in sophistical argument. Beginning 
then his life career, he is, by turns, novice in a monastery, 
highwayman, jail-bird, barber and doctor. In the course 
of his wanderings, he comes upon the corpse of a school 
friend hanging by the roadside, a warning to malefactors. 
The life of this friend, one of whose early adventures had 
been an attempt to seduce Pedro's sister, conveys the 
ordinary lesson of the bad end of the bad boy. Altogether 
the Mexican critic Altamirano considers this realistic 
novel to be "the most genuine representation of the 

The "Pensador's" political writing becomes most in- 
teresting in Las Conversaciones del Payo y del Sacristan, 
in which are discussed with infinite irony and delightful 
jest "the advantages which have come to Mexico by the 
death of Iturbide." These imaginary conversations is- 
sued between August and December, 1824, introducing 
various types of Mexican character and treating the 
serious problems which confronted society, are essential 
to any study of social conditions at that time. 

Fernandez de Lizardi published two other novels. La 
Quijotita y su Prima, 18 19, and Don Catrin de la Fachenda, 
1825, but in these the didactical motive has gained com- 
plete ascendancy for they are practically devoid of in- 
cident. In the former a colonel instructs his daughter in 
the moral conduct of her life; the fact that such a preach- 
ment was widely read in several editions is perhaps il- 
luminating in regard to the literary taste of the period. 
The title of the latter has contributed an epithet used in 
Mexico, to characterize the type of person represented 
by Don Catrin. A shorter book than either of these is 


Noches tristes, in which the writer gives personal details 
of his imprisonment. Altogether "El Pensador Mexi- 
cano" is a name fondly remembered by his countrymen 
because it represents a typical personality of the period. 1^ 

While revolution was setting Spanish America aflame, 
the island of Qiba became the place of refuge for loyalists. 
The immigration from Santo Domingo was the first to 
come. In 1795, the whole island had been ceded to the 
French, and immediately thereafter the negro insurrec- 
tion raging in Haiti spread to Santo Domingo. In 1801, 
the negro leader Toussaint L'Ouverture captured the 
capital from which many of the leading families had 
already gone to Cuba. Among them were the parents of 
J. M. Heredia destined to be Cuba's greatest poet. 

The loyalist immigrants contributed largely to the 
elements of culture in Cuba. An interest in literature 
among the men of Habana had led as early as 1790 to 
the establishment of a literary journal, El Papel Periodico. 
As the contributions to this paper were published anony- 
mously it has been somewhat difficult to know much of 
their authors, but two names of poets surpassing the others 
have come down to posterity, Manuel de Zequeira y 
Arango (1760-1846) and Manuel Justo de Rubalcava 

De Zequeira rose to relatively high rank in the Spanish v 
army and commanded the garrison of the fortress of 
Santa Marta in Nueva Granada when it was besieged by 
the colonial army. In private life he was a studious man 
whose influence and example was highly beneficial to 
Cuban letters. Of his poems, written in imitation of the 
classical style of the Spanish poets of the golden age, the 


best is La Batalla naval de Cortes en la Laguna de Mexico: 
This contains the striking description of the death of a 
Spanish soldier, Pedro de la Barba, killed by the arrow of 
a native. De Zequeira was also a graceful sonneteer, 
but herein his work is not always distinguishable from 
that of his friend De Rubalcava. So closely do their 
peculiarities coincide that critics have been unable to 
make certain which is the author of an admirable sonnet, 
La Huston, in which all earthly glory is compared to the 
fugacious glory of the dreamer. Though the sonnet has 
been commonly assigned to Rubalcava, it first appeared 
in the Papel Periodic o over the pen name used by De 
Zequeira. The latter wrote much religious verse also in 
which is apparent the influence of the Mexican poet 

Such was the spirit of poetical production in Cuba 
during the first twenty years of the nineteenth century 
until there suddenly appeared a book of verse which there- 
after became the inspiration of Cuban separatists. Its 
author, Jose Maria Heredia (1803-39), ^^^ been called 
by a Spaniard, "the compendium and epitome of all 
enmity toward Spain." But Heredia regarded himself 
as a Spaniard and refers in his verses to Spain as "tender 
mother." As a partisan, however, of the liberals, who 
supported in 1820 the revolution led by Rafael del Riego, 
he wrote burning verses against "the oppressor of Iberia," 
and called Spain stupid because she consented to oppres- 
sion and to the death of Riego. Heredia's language, 
however, was later applicable to the political situation 
in Cuba. 

Heredia, moreover, was involved in the first attempt at 


insurrection in Cuba, which occurred in 1823. He was a 
member of the society known as the "Soles de Bolivar," 
who plotted to obtain independence for Cuba through 
the assistance of Mexico and Colombia. Such a conspiracy 
of young hotheads in a society composed of loyalist ref- 
ugees was predestined to failure. Besides, the relaxation 
of the Spanish commercial laws, incident to the political 
conditions of America, had brought great material pros- 
perity to Cuba, and thereby an atmosphere not at all 
favorable to revolution. 

But Heredia, though bom in Cuba, had come to man- 
hood in a more bracing moral environment. His father 
was a government official, who had acted as chief judge 
of the court in Caracas in the days when Venezuela was 
trembling under the tyranny of Monteverde. The elder 
Heredia felt such sympathy for the victims of official 
tyranny and in his capacity as magistrate showed such 
consideration for them that suspicion of complicity in 
the revolution fell on his own head. He was punished 
by being transferred to a lesser position in Mexico in 
which country he died in 1820. Of his father the poet 
wrote in a poem dedicated to his memory, "In your charge 
you took my education and never to others' hands en- 
trusted my tender childhood. Love for all men, fear of 
God you inspired in me and hatred of atrocious tyranny." 

After his father's death the young man went to Cuba 
to finish his studies in law and finally settled in the city 
of Matanzas as a practicing attorney. He took with him 
many of the poems which were to make him famous 
after their publication. Some of them probably circu- 
lated in manuscript and added fuel to the fires of revolt 


which broke out in 1823. For his part Heredia was con- 
demned by the audiencia of Cuba to perpetual banish- 
ment. He went to the United States, traveled about 
there for a short time, then departed for Mexico where he 
married, became a government official and lived there to 
the end of his days. In 1836 he was permitted by the 
Spanish authorities to return to Cuba for a brief visit of 
two months, constantly harassed by annoying restrictions. 
On account of the murmurs then circulating in the island 
against the actions of the governor, the restrictions may 
have been justifiable from the official point of view, but 
in so far as they brought Heredia and his poetic utter- 
ances to the notice of Cubans they were unwise. Heredia 
himself was far from thinking of inciting insurrection. 
Suffering from ill health apd a sort of moral dejection on 
account of turbulent political conditions in Mexico, he 
even gave expression to some thoughts which have been 
widely published by Spaniards as a recantation of the 
political beliefs which inspired his poems. 

The first edition of his poems, printed in New York in 
1825, contains practically all he ever wrote that people 
care for. A comparison of it with the edition of Toluca, 
1832, advertised to contain additional poems, shows that 
the additions consist of a few occasional pieces, a phil- 
osophical dissertation in verse on immortality, and a 
number of translations. In Mexico he first drew attention 
to himself by writing for the papers and by the production 
of certain tragedies largely adaptations from French, 
the Abufar of Ducis, Sila, Tiberio, and Los ultimos Ro- 
manos. The tirades against tyranny which abound in 
these dramas were quite to the taste of the Mexican public 


and assisted materially in making the political fortune 
of their author. 

The New York edition has a preface in English which 
cannot help exciting pathetic interest in the reader fa- 
miliar with the circumstances. It is a sort of adver- 
tisement designed perhaps to help along its sale, thus: 
"The author has paid particular attention to the accents 
to make these poems useful to Americans learning the 
Spanish language. Nothing is better calculated to give 
them a practical knowledge of the true pronunciation of 
words than the habit of reading poetry. May they re- 
ceive this little service of an exiled youth as an expres- 
sion of gratitude for the asylum he has found in this happy 

Those poems of Heredia which are not political in char- 
acter must be classed with that type of poetry more 
noteworthy for its ideas than for its form. For that 
reason they are susceptible of good translation into other 
languages. At the same time his poems possess a sub- 
jective element revealing a passionate personality that 
causes some critics to compare him with Byron and other 
romantic poets. But there is nothing of the romantic 
pose in Heredia*s lines for his banishment had imbued 
them with the note of sincerity. Heredia stands in per- 
sonal touch with the elemental forces of nature in their 
sublimest form. "Hurricane, hurricane, I feel thee com- 
ing," he cried; or to the sun, "I love thee. Sun: thou 
knowest how joyfully I greet thee, when thou appearest 
at the gates of the east." To the mighty falls of Niagara 
he speaks in a familiar tone, "mighty torrent, hush thy 
terrifying thunder; diminish a little the darkness that 


surrounds thee; let me contemplate thy serene counte- 
nance and fill my soul with ardent enthusiasm/* 

Heredia's poems do not contain elaborate descriptions 
of nature. On the contrary he paints with a bold stroke, 
intent on producing a suitable background for the ideas 
which fill his soul. Take for example the poem En el 
Teocalli de Cholula. The poet seated in the ancient ternple 
of the Aztecs watches the sun sink behind a volcano. 
Its snow-clad top seems to dissolve into a sea of gold.^ 
Darkness falls. The moon and the stars become visible.^ 
As the moon sinks behind the volcano, the shadow of the 
mountain, like a colossal ghost, strides across the plain 
till it envelops the poet and the whole world, though the 
vast form of the volcano is still outlined against the sky. 
The flight of time thus leaves no traces on this giant. 
Nevertheless the poet knows that according to the law 
of nature it must some day fall. 

The flight of time seenled to be always present to Here- 
dia's mind. The Aztec temple is now nothing but a deso- 
late monument to the cruel pride of an extinct race. The 
majestic waters of Niagara run "like the dark torrent 
of centuries into eternity." It is such criticism of life, 
though commonplace at times, that gives Heredia's 
poetry a tinge of melancholy. Therein he resembles our 
own poet, William Cullen Bryant. And to Bryant we 
fortunately owe metrical translations of two of Heredia*s 
greatest poems, the ode to the Hurricane and the ode on 
Niagara to which Heredia owes the appellation bestowed 
on him of "Singer of Niagara." The latter runs thus: 

My lyre! Give me my lyre! My bosom feels 
The glow of inspiration. O, how long 


Have I been left in darkness, since this light 
Last visited my brow! Niagara! 
Thou with thy rushing waters dost restore 
The heavenly gift that sorrow took away. 

Tremendous torrent! for an instant hush 
The terrors of thy voice, and cast aside 
Those wide-involving shadows, that my eyes 
May see the fearful beauty of thy face! 
I am not all unworthy of thy sight. 

For from my very boyhood have I loved, J 

Shunning the meaner track of common minds. 
To look on Nature in her loftier moods. ^ 

At the fierce rushing of the hurricane, 
At the near bursting of the thunderbolt, 
I have been touched with joy; and when the sea 
Lashed by the wind hath rocked my bark, and showed 
Its yawning caves beneath me, I have loved 
Its dangers and the wrath of elements. 
But never yet the madness of the sea 
Hath moved me as thy grandeur moves me now. 

Thou flowest on in quiet, till thy waves 
Grow broken *midst the rocks; thy current then 
Shoots onward like the irresistible course 
Of Destiny. Ah, terribly they rage, — 
The hoarse and rapid whirlpools there! My brain 
Grows wild, my senses wander, as I gaze 
Upon the hurrying waters, and my sight. 
Vainly would follow, as toward the verge 
Sweeps the wi0^ torrent. Waves innumerable 
Meet there and madden, — waves innumerable 
Urge on and overtake the waves before, 
And disappear in thunder and in foam. 

They reach, they leap the barrier, — the abyss 
Swallows insatiable the sinking waves. 


A thousand rainbows arch them, and woods 

Are deafened with the roar. The violent shock 

Shatters to vapor the descending sheets. 

A cloudy whirlwind fills the gulf, and heaves 

The mighty pyramid of circling mist 

To heaven. The solitary hunter near 

Pauses with terror in the forest shades. 

What seeks my restless eye? Why are not here. 
About the jaws of this abyss, the palms — 
Ah, the delicious palms, — that on the plains 
Of my own native Cuba spring and spread 
Their thickly foliaged summits to the sun. 
And, in the breathings of the ocean air, 
Wave soft beneath the heaven's unspotted blue? 

But no, Niagara, — thy forest pines 
Are fitter coronal for thee. The palm. 
The effeminate myrtle, and frail rose may grow 
In gardens, and give out their fragrance there. 
Unmanning him who breathes it. Thine it is 
To do a nobler office. Generous minds 
Behold thee, and are moved, and learn to rise 
Above earth's frivolous pleasures; they partake 
Thy grandeur, at the utterance of thy name. 

God of all truth! in other lands I've seen 
Lying philosophers, blaspheming men. 
Questioners of thy mysteries, that draw 
Their fellows deep into impiety; 
And therefore doth my spirit seek thy face 
In earth's majestic solitudes. Even here 
My heart doth open all itself to thee. 
In this immensity of loneliness, 
I feel thy hand upon me. To my ear 
The eternal thunder of the cataract brings 
Thy voice, and I am humbled as I hear. 


Dread torrent, that with wonder and with fear 
Dost overwhelm the soul of him that looks 
Upon thee, and dost bear it from itself, — 
Whence hast thou thy beginning? Who supplies. 
Age after age, thy unexhausted springs? 
What power hath ordered, that when all thy weight 
Descends into the deep, the swollen waves 
Rise not and roll to overwhelm the earth ? 

The Lord has opened his omnipotent hand, 
Covered thy face with clouds, and given voice 
To thy down-rushing waters; he hath girt 
Thy terrible forehead with his radiant bow. 
I see thy never-resting waters run. 
And I bethink me how the tide of time 
Sweeps to eternity. So pass of man — 
Pass, like a noonday dream — the blossoming days 
And he awakes to sorrow. I, alas! 
Feel that my youth is withered, and my brow 
Ploughed early with the lines of grief and care. 

Never have I so deeply felt as now 
The hopeless solitude, the abandonment. 
The anguish of a loveless life. Alas! 
How can the impassioned, the unfrozen heart 
Be happy without love? I would that one 
Beautiful, worthy to be loved and joined 
In love with me, now shared my lonely walk 
On this tremendous brink. 'Twere sweet to see 
Her sweet face touched with paleness, and become 
More beautiful from fear, and overspread 
With a faint smile while clinging to my side. 
Dreams, — dreams! I am an exile, and for me 
There is no country and there is no love. 

Hear, dread Niagara, my latest voice! 
Yet a few years, and the cold earth shall close 


Over the bones of him who sings thee now 
Thus feelingly. Would that this, my humble verse. 
Might be, like thee, immortal! I, meanwhile. 
Cheerfully passing to the appointed rest. 
Might raise my radiant forehead in the clouds 
To listen to the echoes of my fame. 

Even in the presence of the rushing waters Heredia 
yearns for love, an ever present desire with him. In the 
lines on his father's death he expresses the hope of finding 
consolation for his loss in "the arms of his beloved." 
In the matter of his beloved it is interesting to note the 
dedications of the two editions of his poems prepared 
by Heredia himself. In the edition of New York the honor 
of the first place is given to certain lines, "To a young 
lady who used to read my verses with pleasure." In the 
edition of Toluca these lines are replaced by a sonnet, 
"To my Wife," thus translated by James Kennedy. 

When yet was burning in my fervid veins 

The fieriness of youth, with many a tear 

Of grief, 'twas mine of all my feelings drear. 

To pour in song the passion and the pains; 

And now to thee I dedicate the strains. 

My wife, when love, from youth's illusions freer. 

In our pure hearts is glowing deep and clear, 

And calm serene for me the daylight gains. 

Thus lost on raging seas, for aid implores 

Of Heaven the unhappy mariner, the mark 

Of tempests bearing on him wild and dark; 

And on the altars when are gained the shores. 

Faithful to the deity he adores. 

He consecrates the relics of his bark. 

The full intensity of Heredia's temperament is revealed 


in the lines to the Hurricane. For some reason Bryant 
did not translate the last stanza of the poem, perhaps 
because it was too intense for the Puritan in him. It has 
been necessary then to add it in a prose form, because to 
Heredia this stanza was the climax to the rest. Though 
Bryant's translation is at times almost literal he para- 
phrased the opening cry, "Hurricane, hurricane, I feel 
thee coming." 

Lord of the winds! I feel thee nigh, 
I know thy breath in the burning sky! 
And I wait, with a thrill in every vein, 
For the coming of the hurricane! 

And lo! on the wing of the heavy gales. 
Through the boundless arch of heaven he sails; 
Silent and slow, and terribly strong. 
The mighty shadow is borne along. 
Like the dark eternity to come; 
While the world below, dismayed and dumb. 
Through the calm of the thick hot atmosphere, 
Looks up at its gloomy folds with fear. 

They darken fast; and the golden blaze 
Of the sun is quenched in the lurid haze, 
And he sends through the shade a funeral ray— 
A glare that is neither night nor day, 
A beam that touches, with hues of death. 
The clouds above and the earth beneath. 
To its covert glides the silent bird, 
While the hurricane's distant voice is heard 
Uplifted among the mountains round. 
And the forests hear and answer the sound. 

He is come! he is come! do ye not behold 
His ample robes on the wind unrolled ? 


Giant of air! we bid thee hail! — 

How his gray skirts toss in the whirling gale; 

How his huge and writhing arms are bent 

To clasp the zone of the firmament. 

And fold at length, in their dark embrace, 

From mountain to mountain the visible space. 

Darker — still darker! the whirlwinds bear 
The dust of the plains to the middle air: 
And hark to the crashing, long and loud. 
Of the chariot of God in the thunder-cloud! 
You may trace its path by the flashes that start 
From the rapid wheels where'er they dart, 
As the fire-bolts leap to the world below, 
And flood the skies with a lurid glow. 

What roar is that? — *tis the rain that breaks 
In torrents away from the airy lakes. 
Heavily poured on the shuddering ground, 
And shedding a nameless horror round. 
Ah! well-known woods, and mountains, and skies, 
With the very clouds! — ye are lost to my eyes. 

I seek ye vainly, and see in your place 
The shadowy tempest that sweeps through space, 
A whirling ocean that fills the wall 
Of the crystal heaven, and buries all. 
And I, cut oflF from the world, remain 
Alone with the terrible hurricane. 

Sublime tempest! As if filled with thy solemn inspiration, 
I forget the vile and wretched world and raise my head 
full of delight. Where is the coward soul that fears thy 
roar? In thee I rise to the throne of the Lord; I 
hear in the clouds the echo of his voice; I feel the 
earth listen to him and tremble. Hot tears descend my 
pale cheeks and trembling, I adore his lofty majesty. 


The same fiery ardor is displayed in Heredia*s political 
poems. Their chief sentiments are hatred of oppression 
and love of liherty. A series of sonnets on Riego, Rome, 
Cato, Napoleon, all express admiration for champions of 
human rights. Napoleon saved France from anarchy and 
made kings tremble; though he died abandoned on a 
lonely rock, his life exemplifies the fact that no oppression 
however strong is irresistible. Love of liberty is ever the 
poet's cry. In his earliest political composition, La Es- 
trella de Cuba, written at the age of nineteen and probably 
circulated in manuscript among the conspirators of 1823, 
Heredia calls for sacrifice of this sort, "If the scaflFold 
awaits me, upon its height my bleeding head will appear 
a monument of Spanish brutality." 

When banished he indited an Epistola a Emilia, a gem 
of personal lyric verse. Homesick and longing for the 
"terrible sun" of Cuba, he wrote from the North: "I am 
free, but what cruel change! The winter's wind is roaring; 
upon its wings flies the piercing cold. The inert world 
suffers the tyranny of cruel winter. My ear hears not the 
voices of my friends but only the barbarous sounds of a 
foreign idiom. But it is not wearied by the insolent 
tyrant, nor the groan of the slave nor the crack of the whip 
which poisons the air of Cuba. At night when the light of 
the silent moon and the delicious perfume of the lemon in- 
vite to repose, a thousand thoughts of rage becloud my 

The political verse attains a climax in the closing lines 
of the Himno del Desterrado: "Cuba, Cuba, what life you 
gave me, sweet land of light and beauty! And am I to see 
thee again ? How sternly the severity of my fate weighs 


on me to-day! Oppression threatens me with death in 
the fields where I was bom. Cuba, at last thou shalt be 
free and pure as the air thou breathest, as the sparkling 
waves which thou dost see kissing the sand of thy shores. 
Though vile traitors serve him, the tyrant's wrath is vain, 
because not for naught between Cuba and Spain does the 
sea roll its billows." 

Heredia's prophecy of September, 1825, was not fulfilled 
for nearly three-quarters of a century, but during that 
period his poems were a constant inspiration to Cuban 
patriotism. To this fact even the Spanish critic Menendez 
y Pelayo testifies with bitterness in these words, "If his 
political activity does not equal that of other conspirators 
against Spain, because he took no part in an armed strug- 
gle, his literary influence was continuous and more eflPectual 
than any other because he surpassed all in talent." 

As there is in Heredia something typical of Spanish 
Americans, his vague sensuality, his melancholia, his out- 
bursts of hatred, his love of liberty, his poetry is doubly 
interesting. The ease with which he was able to express 
these different emotions made him indifferent at times to a 
classical finish in the form of his verse. In this he belonged 
to the romantic school. For an exact and comprehensive 
criticism of Heredia nobody has ever excelled that of the 
Spanish critic, Alberto Lista, who said after reading the 
first edition of his poems, "He is a great poet; the fire of 
his soul has passed into his verses and is transmitted to his 

Heredia must be classed with the revolutionary epoch 
though he stands alone among Cubans of that day. The 
Cuban struggle for independence was to fill the whole of 


the nineteenth century and therefore the whole of Cuban 
literature may be called revolutionary. On the other 
hand, in other Spanish-American countries the winning 
of independence was followed by a period of adjustment 
to new political conditions. As this adjustment varied 
with local conditions there sprang up local literatures 
which must be studied separately. 



After separation from Spain the vast territory of the 
Argentine Republic, divided politically into provinces, 
was organized into a nationality by Bernardo Rivadavia. 
Under his dictatorship Buenos Aires became the capital 
of a centralized or unitarian republic. Against the suprem- 
acy of the city the provinces demanded a federal republic 
and rose in rebellion, fighting even among themselves. 
Moreover, it became necessary to assert Argentine sov- 
ereignty over the frontier province, now the independent 
republic of Uruguay, against the aggressions of the Por- 
tuguese from Brazil. The Uruguayans opposed an armed 
resistance to the claims of the Brazilians and were assisted 
by forces sent out from Buenos Aires. In the final battle 
at Ituzaingo, on February 20, 1827, the Brazilians were 
so decisively beaten that the question of sovereignty was 
settled, while a treaty between Argentina and Uruguay 
the next year conceded absolute independence to the latter. 

An ode in celebration of this battle, Al Triunfo de Itu- 
zaingo, is one of the best lyrical pieces of the Argentine 
poet Juan Cruz Varela (1794- 183 9). It is a long poem, 
relating rather minutely the course of the fight. In this 
respect it resembles the ballad chronicles which were in- 
spired by the political events in Buenos Aires from the 
time of the bombardment of the city by the English. But 



there is a swing to these verses of Varela's which puts him 
poetically above his fellow balladists. Varela was not 
only a journalistic champion of Rivadavia's administra- 
tion but the poetic chronicler of all the occurrences of it, 
writing odes on the foundation of the university, on the 
hydraulic works ordered by the government, on the estab- 
lishment of the philharmonic society. In spite of the 
apparent dullness of such topics Varela infused them with 
life. Especially praised is an ode on the liberty of the press, 
for Varela was a fierce patriot. His fierceness reaches a 
climax in an ode, Al Incendio de Cangallo. This was a 
Peruvian village burned and razed by the Spaniards in 
1822, an act which roused great indignation and is still 
commemorated by the name of a street in Buenos Aires. 
Varela called for "vengeance, pitiless vengeance, on the 
Iberian tigers, the proud Spaniards, hateful race of the 
execrated Attila." Such invective was as much to the lik- 
ing of the author's contemporaries as it is unpleasant to 
the Spaniards to-day. 

The same hyperbolical and declamatory rhetoric made 
popular two dramas by Varela, Dido, and Jrgia, written 
for production before the Sociedad del Buen Gusto in 
Buenos Aires. These were in some respects the most 
original dramas produced through the influence of that 
society for the promotion of the drama. In 1823 the 
tirades in Dido created enthusiasm for their apt references 
to the political situation. The same was true of Argia 
a year later. This play was based on Alfieri's Antigone, 
while Dido sometimes followed Virgil word for word. In 
his later years Varela made a metrical version of the 
Aeneid though only the first two books of the epic were 


ever printed. Juan Cruz Varela deserves credit for his 
efforts in classic culture during the troublous times in which 
he lived. 

The unitarian party to which Varela belonged was forced 
out of power and beaten in battle by the federalists under 
the leadership of Juan Manuel Rosas. This man, sup- 
ported by the gauchos of the interior, finally succeeded in 
assuming absolute power. To his political opponents he 
was merciless. Calling them savages and confiscating 
their property for the benefit of his adherents, he organized 
a special body of police called the "Mazhorca" to hunt 
down and exterminate all unitarians. Many of those who 
escaped from his clutches into exile, since they were ed- 
ucated men, took up the fight against Rosas with pen as 
well as sword. For that reason Argentine literature until 
the latter*s fall in ^^^ 2 is to a large extent a militant 
protest against that tyrant. Juan Cruz Varela*s last 
poem, for example, rhetorically one of his best, Al 25 de 
Mayo de 18 j8, was directed against Rosas. 

Before the worst days of Rosas' control there occurred 
an event of the first magnitude in the history of Spanish- 
American letters, the introduction of romanticism through 
the publication of Esteban Echeverria's poem Elvira in 
1832. This date is noteworthy because it is the same 
year m which appeared the Duque de Rivas' Moro esposito, 
the first important production of Spanish rorhanticism. 
Argentina thus received directly the French type of roman- 
ticism whereas other countries absorbed the romantic spirit 
at second hand through the medium of Spanish works. 

Nature in Argentina was to offer a fertile field for ex- 
ploitation by romantic poets. Contemporary with Eche- 


verria but dying too young to fulfill the promise of his 
early work was Florencio Balcarce (1815-39). His memory 
is kept alive by certain pieces through their evocation of 
national scenery and life. The song of the milkman, 
El Lecheroy is fresh and natural. El Cigarro evoked the 
memory of the national hero San Martin then living in 
semi-exile in Europe. The poem depicts an old man 
smoking a cigar beneath the shade of an ombu tree. Phil- 
osophizing to his grandchildren, he finds that fame is like 
the ashes of his cigar, that old men are cast aside and 
despised like the butt of a cigar. There is something of 
the romantic spirit in Balcarce's poems and had he lived 
longer he might have been one of the ablest of Echever- 
ria's disciples. 
y^ Esteban Echeverria (1805-51) at the age of twenty, 
went to Europe in search of educational advantages not 
to be found then in his native land. The study of literature 
appears to have been his chief occupation, the works of 
Shakespeare, Goethe and especially Byron. When in 
Bordeaux, a Swiss friend took him to see a representation 
of Schiller's Kabale und Liehe, which made a profound 
impression on his mind. Before his return to Buenos 
Aires, his interest in Byron's poetry led him to make a 
short visit to England in 1829. He arrived in Argentina, 
May, 1830. Warmly received there, he published a few 
gratulatory verses and then withdrew from public inter- 
course to work on a poem which was published in 1832, 
entitled Elvira la novia del Plata. The public was too 
violently agitated by politics to give much attention to 
this production, but his next volume of verse, Los Con- 
sueloSy made their author immediately popular. 


Los Consuelos are short poems in the Byronic manner. 
The romantic pose maintained throughout the collection 
was new to readers in Argentina and delighted them. 
The author explains the title by the words: "They solaced 
my grief and have been my only consolation in days of 
bitterness." The practice which he adopted from Byron 
of heading each poem by a quotation gives an excellent 
clue to their contents and character. For the entire col- 
lection he chose two lines from Auzias March which, after 
quoting in the original Catalan, he gave in the Spanish 
of Luis de Leon : 

Let no one see my writings who is not sad, or who at some 
time has not been sad. ^^ 

From Byron he selected. 

Fare thee well ! and if forever, 
Still forever, fare thee well! 

to head the poem entitled Lara o la Partida. The name 
Lara was the poet's romantic disguise. Taken boldly 
from Byron, it expressed the loneliness of heart that 
characterized the original of the English poem. As Eche- 
verria was hurt by the indifference of the public towards 
his first volume, he withdrew from Buenos Aires to the 
little village of Mercedes on the Rio Negro. The poem 
Lara voices his adieu. After describing the departure 
of the vessel, the poet is moved to sing because he "re- 
members the injuries of fate," he calls on hope and bids 
good-by to love, but as his tears choke him, he is forced 
to desist. The most original poem of the collection is, 
El y Ellay a love dialogue which especially delighted the 
young ladies of Buenos Aires. The form of this poem 


departs from all classic standards as the strophes vary 
in length from twenty-four lines to a single line of passion- 
ate utterance. The volume also contained several pa- 
triotic appeals which expressed the feelings of the public 
at the moment and helped to arouse enthusiasm. 

The success of this volume encouraged Echeverria to 
bring out in 1837, Las Rimas. Besides short pieces it 
contained a long poem, La Cautiva, which put into prac- 
tice a doctrine previously expressed by the author, in a 
note to Los Consuelos. Poetry, he declared, does not 
enjoy in America the influence which it possesses in 
Europe. "If it wishes to gain influence, it must have an 
original character of its own, reflecting the colors of the 
physical nature which surrounds us and be the most 
elevated expression of our predominant ideas and of the 
sentiments and passions which spring from the shock of 
our social interests^Only thus, free from the bonds of 
all foreign influence, will our poetry come to be as sub- 
lime as the Andes; strange, beautiful and varied as the 
fertile earth, which produces it.'* 

As a preface to La Cautiva, he wrote: "The main pur- 
pose of the author has been to paint a few outlines of the 
poetical character of the desert; and in order not to reduce 
his work to a mere description, he has placed in the vast 
solitude of the pampa two ideal beings, or two souls 
united by the double bond of love and misfortune. The 
desert is our richest patrimony and we ought to try and 
draw from its breast not only wealth for our well-being, 
but also poetry for our moral pleasure and the encourage- 
ment of our literature." Thus Echeverria first expressed 
a doctrine which Spanish Americans have generally felt 


to be true and according to which, consciously or other- 
wise, they have produced in literature, whatever is really 

The first scene of La Cautiva is laid in the camp of a 
band of Indians after their raid on a village of whites. 
Exhausted by their exertions and the drunken orgies of 
celebration, the savages fall asleep. The silence of the 
Argentine pampa creeps upon them and their captives. 
Most important of these is Brian, formerly a scourge of 
the Indians, now bound between two lances awaiting 
death by torture. His wife Maria, however, is not bound; 
for upon her the Indian cacique, Loucoi, had cast lustful 
glances. When sleep furnishes the opportunity, Maria 
plunges a dagger into Loucoi's heart. In the same way 
marking a bloody path through the band of sleeping 
savages, she reaches the spot where her husband is bound, 
cuts him loose and together they escape. But they are 
hardly gone before a band of horsemen surprise the camp, 
slay the Indians and free the captives; though to their 
sorrow, the rescuers are unable to find Brian and his 
wife. In the meantime the latter are straining limbs and 
nerves to put a great distance between them and their 
former captors. Brian, however, travels with difficulty 
on account of his wounds. As they are resting, they see 
a cloud of smoke swiftly approaching. The pampa is 
afire. Brian, scarcely able to stir, begs his wife to save 
herself; but she sturdily places her husband on her back, 
makes her way to the neighboring river, and swims to 
safety on the opposite bank. Such heroism, nevertheless, 
is vain for on the following day Brian is attacked by 
fever and die^ Maria sets out alone to cross the pampa. 


and soon meets a detachment of soldiers, who were search- 
ing for her and Brian. Of them she inquires deliriously 
for her son and though she herself had related his murder 
to her husband, she expires when the soldiers tell her 
that her son had been killed. 

The literary significance of La Cautiva lies in its revolu- 
tionary departure in form from the classic Spanish ideal 
and the author's success in carrying out his purpose. 
The Argentine critic, J. M. Gutierrez, writes that "La 
Cautiva is a masterpiece, whose perspectives give the 
most complete idea of the sunburnt immensity of the 

Echeverria, taking advantage of the prestige which 
his verses had brought him, plunged boldly into politics 
by launching a sort of secret society, "La Asociacion de 
Mayo," in June, 1837, which had for its object to bring 
about the fall of Rosas. The main principles of the society 
were expounded by Echeverria in a pamphlet entitled 
El Dogma socialista. Despite the name the tone of the 
ideas was not sd much socialistic as democratic after the 
manner of contemporary French writings. 

When news of this secret society reached Rosas* ears, 
the dictator lost little time in sending his agents to sup- 
press it. Echeverria took refuge in the country at some 
distance from the city. Then occurred a rising against 
Rosas among the landed proprietors in the south of the 
province of Buenos Aires. Being few in number they 
could not long withstand his soldiers though those who 
escaped after the battle which they fought took ship for 
Montevideo where they joined the forces of General 
Lavalle. The heroism of the unequal conflict inspired 


Echeverria to compose a poem La Insurreccion del sud 
de la Provincia de Buenos Aires en i8jg. The poem is 
merely a rhymed chronicle of events. Whatever embel- 
lishments the author may have intended to make had to 
be omitted because he left the manuscript behind when 
the approach of Rosas' men caused his hasty flight. It 
was ten years before the manuscript was recovered and 
the poem published. Echeverria's second place of refuge 
was Montevideo. 

In that city he was merely one of many refugees. As 
he suflFered severely from an aflFection of the heart he was 
unable to take physical part in the armies that set out 
against Rosas. Moreover, he appeared to his fellows as a 
visionary. His pen, however, was not idle. Among his 
first poems were two of patriotic character published under 
/ the title of Cantos a Mayo. Then borrowing from Byron's 
^ Parisina the principal episode, that of the wronged hus- 

band who learns from his wife's lips as she talks in her 
sleep the story of her adultery and nevertheless flees from 
the room without carrying into effect his impulse to kill, 
Echeverria adapted it to an Argentine environment. 
First called La Guitarra, the poem was afterwards named 
from the guilty lady Celia, A very long continuation 
or sequel of this poem in eleven cantos and eleven thousand 
lines was published after the poet's death with the title 
El Angel caido. Its literary value is correctly characterized 
by Menendez y Pelayo thus: — "It is not the fall of an 
angel but the fall of a poet." The theme is a presentation 
of Don Juan in Argentine society, but he is not a person 
for he has become an abstraction expressing the author's 
moral and political ideas. 


Better and more interesting at least in its descriptive 
part is another long poem, Avellaneda, intended to cele- 
brate the heroism of a man by that name who died in the 
struggle against Rosas. The scene is laid in the province 
of Tucuman. In depicting its natural beauties Echeverria 
again demonstrated his principles concerning the Ameri- 
canization of literature. The political element of the 
poem is of course less attractive. 

These two peculiarities dominate all Argentine litera- 
ture, and as Echeverria put them forth as a sort of theory 
of aesthetics, it may be said that his influence has pre- 
vailed during most of the century. The Americanization 
of literature which he advocated in a note to the Cautiva 
had a long and varied development in Argentina and 
found in other countries at the advent of naturalism a 
responsive echo. And his conception of poetry as a moral 
or civilizing agent became the literary creed of later 

The Argentines who fled from the tyranny of Rosas 
may be roughly divided into two groups, those who found 
refuge in Chile and those who preferred Montevideo. 
The story of the literary activities of the former in Chile 
on account of their undeniable influence in that country 
belongs with the history of Chilean literature. The 
exiles had to earn a precarious living by their pens, but 
they were personally more secure than their compatriots 
in Uruguay. The latter remained in the thick of the fight 
where a sudden shift of fortune would have thrown them 
into Rosas' hands. For nine years his army and fleet 
maintained a siege of Montevideo from 1841 to 1850. 
In the latter year General Urquiza deserting the tyrant 


brought his forces to join the league against him. In 
1852 occurred the battle of Monte Caseros which termi- 
nated Rosas' power. 

During the period of the great siege Montevideo was 
the center of Argentine letters, and their main theme 
anathema of Rosas. The foremost wielder of political 
X invective was Jose Marmol (1818-81). At the age of 
twenty he found himself in prison as a conspirator. On 
the walls of his cell he scribbled in a quatrain his first 
denunciation of the tyrant in which he declared that the 
"barbarian" could never put shackles on his mind. The 
quatrain became MarmoFs favorite vehicle of expression 
for his passionate hate. The sincerity, the variety, and 
the intensity of his quatrains rendered them famous. 
Making Rosas second only to Satan in his capacity for 
evil, they depict him more bloodstained than Attila or 
Nero, bloodguiltier than the Atridae, bloodthirstier than 
a ravening tiger. 

For the class of readers that prefer facts to objurgation 
Marmol prepared Amalia, in form supposedly a historical 
novel after the manner of Walt er Scottj, but more exactly 
a detailed account of Rosas' crimes so presented as to 
show the moral degradation of Buenos Aires. Many 
episodes are introduced solely for this purpose. For 
example, Rosas demonstrates to the crowd his democratic 
ideals by compelling his daughter to receive the kisses of 
a rum-crazed negro. The description of the state ball 
gives an opportunity to reveal the character of the persons 
who form Rosas' immediate entourage, their base flattery, 
the vulgar conversation of the ladies. The narrative 
part of the story concerns principally the acts of a Daniel 


Bello, himself opposed to Rosas but protected in his 
operations because he is the son of one of Rosas* adherents. 
Though carrying on various intrigues and acting as a spy 
for those who are plotting in Montevideo for an uprising, 
Daniel remains unsuspected. When his friend Eduardo 
Belgrano ventures into Buenos Aires on a mission, Daniel 
is able to save his life even after Eduardo has been severely 
wounded and left for dead by the police by concealing 
him in Amalia's house. She is Daniel's cousin. She takes 
so much interest in the patient that she falls in love with 
him. The book ends with a description of their wedding 
night. Its festivities are interrupted by the police who 
break in for the purpose of arresting Eduardo and who 
kill him. 

The novel Amalia met with a large sale in Europe. 
Menendez y Pelayo explains this fact in his criticism. 
After pointing out that the story is so strange as to be 
unreal, that one involuntarily asks how such a social 
condition could endure so long, he says, "The interest of 
the narration is very great and one drops the book re- 

Marmol further utilized his experiences and sensations 
as an exile in composing a long poem, El Peregrino. It is 
not complete, but many of the fragments possess great 
lyrical beauty. The main idea of the poem is that of a . 
Childe Harold in South America. With descriptive pas- 
sages concerning the clouds, the tropical sunset, the 
beauties of America, Marmol mingles the expression of 
his feelings, his love for his wife, his religious faith, his 
grief at the condition of his native land, the joy of loving 
even in the midst of grief. 


The drama also tempted Marmol. Little praise is 
accorded, however, to the two dramas which he wrote. 
El Cruzado and El Poeta. The latter deals with the love 
affairs of Carlos and Maria. Carlos, being a poet, is 
poor and therefore turned away from Maria by her father. 
Nevertheless the lovers continue to communicate even 
after Carlos is thrown into prison for writing political 
articles against the government. When Maria learns 
that Carlos is to be exiled, she prevails on her father to 
use his influence to secure the poet's release. In return 
she promises to marry Don Enrique. The fifth act of 
the play opens with the wedding ceremony. After the 
vows have been pronounced, Carlos appears at the house 
and gains entrance to Maria's room, where he succeeds 
in calling her for an interview. Reproached by her lover 
for inconstancy, she tells him that she has taken poison. 
Then Carlos obtains some of the same poison and swallows 
it. She dies in his embrace, but Carlos lives long enough 
to hurl curses at the unhappy father. 

Another Argentine exile and knight of the pen in the 
7^ struggle against Rosas was Jose Rivera Indarte (1814-45). 
At the early age of twenty-one, he suffered incarceration 
for the expression of his opinions. While in prison the 
reading of the Bible and Dante determined the style of 
his poems which he began to write then. After his release 
he took ship for North America. During the voyage he 
fell sick with an attack of smallpox. Being isolated and 
neglected, it was a marvel that he lived to reach Salem, 
Massachusetts. When news came to him of the emigra- 
tion of his friends to Montevideo he set sail for that port 
where he began to write for El Nacional. His attack on 


Rosas developed the thesis that it would be a saintly 
action to kill the tyrant. His articles being largely de- 
scriptive of cruel deeds were published in book form under 
the title Rosas y sus Opositores and had great influence 
in shaping foreign public opinion. His poems, published 
after his untimely death, from consumption contracted 
during the shattered state of his health, contain some 
political satires in the style of Marmol but without the 
latter's force. His patriotic hymns of the Argentine emi- 
grants and to Lavalle are more convincing. In his ode 
on the battle of Caaguazu he introduced an apparition of 
General Belgrano similar to the apparition of the Inca 
in Olmedo's famous ode. But many of his poems are 
Biblical paraphrases or imitations collected under the 
title of Melodias hebraicas, which, however, are rather 
prosaic without poetic fire. 

Far better as poetry were the verses of Claudio Mamerto 
Cuenca (1812-52), killed at the battle of Monte-Caseros 
where Rosas was overthrown. He was a surgeon whom 
circumstances had compelled to remain in Buenos Aires 
as well as later to serve with the tyrant's army. His 
reputation among the patriots, however, was saved by 
the verses penned before the battle and found on his 
body. After bitter denunciation they declared that the 
hour of Rosas' purging had arrived. Cuenca's literary 
remains were published in three volumes under the title 
of Delirios del Corazbn. Beside many lyrical pieces of 
considerable inspiration he was the author of Don Tadeo, 
a comedy of manners in five acts and a drama, Muza. 

In the army that defeated Rosas there commanded the 
artillery a young man of thirty, Bartolome Mitre (i82l-^)<;^ 


1906), who afterwards proved himself to possess one of 
the strongest and sanest intellects in Argentina. A cap- 
tain at the age of seventeen in the first siege of Monte- 
video, he rose rapidly in rank. The year 1848, however, 
found him in Chile where he showed that he could wield 
a pen as well as a sword by editing the Mercurio de Val- 
paraiso. Among his companions in Montevideo he was 
known also as a poet. 

What Echeverria said of Mitre's verses in 1846 is 
interesting: "His muse is distinguished among his con- 
temporaries by the manly frankness of his sentiments 
and a certain martial quality." Now listen to Mitre's 
own comment when editing his poems in later days: "I 
love my verses because they reflect some of those intense 
sorrows and some of those solemn moments of the revolu- 
tion against the tyrant Rosas. I have another reason 
for hating Rosas and the publication of these rhymes is 
my revenge. On account of him I have had to bear arms, 
travel the country, become a politician, and plunge into 
the stormy course of revolutions without being able to 
follow my literary vocation." 

Mitre's poems were nearly all written before 1846. 
They possess high literary and lyrical qualities. In the 
elegies on the deaths of certain individuals, as General 
Lavalle, who had fallen in the civil war, there is a display 
of real feeling which surpasses that of his contemporaries. 
One of his anti-Rosas pieces became a popular song. The 
title Invdlido refers to the old veteran who recites the 
story of his services to the country before begging "una 
limosna por Dios." The last stanza is the poet's own 
plaint in this wise: 


La Republica Argentina 
Bajo el yugo de un tirano 
Pide al mundo americano 
Una limosna por Dios! 

One section of Mitre's Rimas is devoted to Armontas 
de la Pampa. Therein he shows himself a disciple of 
Echeverria by seeking inspiration in nature, or national 
customs. El Ombu en medio de la Pampa reveals a rare 
love for trees. El Pato describes a gaucho game by that 
name. In fact he is one of the first to attempt a poetical 
treatment of the Argentine gaucho by telling the legend 
of the famous Santos Vega. Again he sings El Cab alio del 
Gaucho with all the enthusiasm and love for horses which 
he himself undoubtedly felt. 

His reason for ceasing to write poems is interesting. 
He says: "At twenty years of age, I dreamed of immortal 
renown; the laurels of Homer robbed me of sleep. Soon 
I understood that I could not even aspire to live in the 
memory of more than one generation as a poet nor was 
our society sufficiently mature to produce a poet laureate." 

Politics occupied Mitre after the return to Buenos 
Aires. In the fight of the city against the confederation 
in 1 861, he led the city's military forces. Being successful 
he was proclaimed dictator of the new federation of which 
Buenos Aires became the undisputed seat of the govern- 
ment. To his wisdom and moderation was due the fact 
that the old bitter differences between the city and the 
provinces lapsed to the point of disappearance. In 1865 
he led the Argentine forces in the war against Solano 
Lopez, dictator of Paraguay. In 1868 his term as presi- 
dent came to an end, and D. F. Sarmiento was quietly 


elected and inaugurated. Though Mitre was twice again 
a candidate for the presidency and leader of insurgent 
forces, his main business in life was literary. 

In 1869 Mitre founded La Nacion, to-day one of the 
leading newspapers in the country. His Historia de Bd- 
grano, originally published in 1858, he improved and 
brought out in new editions. His monumental work, 
however, was La Historia de San Martin, printed in 1888. 
It was such a history as one great soldier could write of 

During Mitre's administration as president there was 
much literary activity in Buenos Aires. Three literary 
journals, La Revista argentina, El Correo del Domingo, 
and La Revista de Buenos Aires, flourished. The last 
directed by Vicente G. Quesada and Miguel Navarro 
Viola was the official organ of an influential literary so- 
ciety, the Circulo literario, among whose members were 
numbered nearly everybody of prominence in the city. 
The study of Argentine history absorbed much of their 
attention, and occupied more than half the pages of the 
>N A contributor was Luis L. Dominguez (1819-98), 

whose historical studies were later printed as Historia 
argentina, covering the period from the discovery of 
America to the beginning of the revolution against Spain. 
Among his fellow exiles in Montevideo he made himself 
remarked for his verses, especially those which he pre- 
sented at the famous literary contest of 1841. In verses 
of a romantic type he quite caught the spirit of the master 
Echeverria. And a descriptive poem of his. El Ombu, 
has remained a classic of Argentine poetry. About that 


shade tree Dominguez made the whole of Argentine life 
revolve. The opening stanza of the poem, perhaps little 
more than a jingle, is known by heart by every school 

Cada comarca en la tierra 
Tiene un rasgo prominente: 
El Brasil su sol ardiente, 
Minas de plata el Peru, 
Montevideo su cerro, 
Buenos Aires, patria hermosa, 
Tiene su pampa grandiosa; 
La pampa tiene el Ombu. 

Dominguez, during Mitre's administration, held im- 
portant governmental positions and later rose to promi- 
nence in the diplomatic service of his country. 

Another historical writer of the same group was Vi cente 
Fi del L6pez^ i8n;-iQ03), son of the author of the Ar- 
gentine national hymn. His Manual de Historia argentina 
became the standard text-book for schools. His place 
of refuge from the tyranny of Rosas was Chile where he 
was one of the Argentine journalists so influential in the 
literary history of that country. There he collected the 
material for some historical novels which were numbered 
among the first of the kind to be written by Argentines. 

At one time a fellow exile with Lopez in Chile was Juan 
Bautista Alberdi (1810-84), ^ "^ost voluminous and 
influential Argentine writer. When a youth of fifteen 
he was given one of the public scholarships at the Colegio 
de Ciencias morales founded by Rivadavia whose fore- 
sight recognized the value of education in a democracy. 
Being a member of the Asociacion de Mayo in 1837 he 


was obliged to seek safety from Rosas by flight. In Monte- 
video he completed his studies for the doctorate of law. 
At the same time he was active in journalistic work by 
writing humorous descriptive articles of manners and 
by contributing to the comic sheet, illustrated by carica- 
tures, Muera Rosas, one of the many forms of attack on 
the tyrant. In 1843 Alberdi went to Europe on a ship 
named the "Eden" and in fantastic prose wrote out im- 
pressions of the voyage which he proudly published as a 
poem with the same name. But his enduring reputation 
is due to a critical examination of Argentine history and 
the suggestions for a suitable form of government for the 
country contained in his Bases para la Organizacion de 
la Republica Argentina. 

This book was written in Chile after his return from 
Europe while the final campaign against Rosas was being 
waged by General Urquiza. When a congress met after 
Rosas' overthrow for the purpose of preparing a consti- 
tution for the republic, the Bases directed the otherwise 
conflicting and vague ideas of its members along logical 
lines so that Alberdi's suggestions became to all intents 
the constitution of the Argentine republic. A curious 
synchronism of events has been noted herewith. In IVfay, 
1 85 1, General Urquiza declared his revolution against 
Rosas and began to prepare his campaign. In May, 1852, 
Alberdi's book came from the press. In May, 1853, the 
constitutional convention voted the constitution. The 
foreign reader should remember that May is the glorious 
month of Argentine history, for the twenty-fifth is the 
national holiday. 

Argentina's indebtedness to Alberdi was recognized 


two years later by a decree of the government to deposit 
in the national archives certain of his writings signed 
with his autograph and to print at public expense an 
edition of his works. Alberdi was entrusted with impor- 
tant diplomatic missions in Europe, but he did not 
always meet the views of his compatriots respecting their 
foreign policy. His later years were spent for the most 
part in Europe in the diligent production of political 
and economic writings. 

Among the expatriated Argentines the one who became>^ 
the most thorough man of letters was Juan Maria Gutier- Y^ 
rez (1809-78). With Echeverria and Alberdi he was ac- 
tive in the Asociacion de Mayo and suffered three months* 
imprisonment in Rosas* jails before going into exile. Gu- 
tierrez was initiated by Echeverria ihto his literary as 
well as his political ideals, for within a year after the pub- 
lication of La Cautiva, Gutierrez wrote Los Amores del 
Payador, a long poem closely following the master's 
doctrine of the Americanization of literature of which 
he remained an ardent advocate. In Montevideo in 1 841, 
Gutierrez distinguished himself by winning the first prize 
in a literary contest by an ode. La Revolucion de Mayo, 
It is praised by Menendez y Pelayo because it "departs 
greatly from the current vulgarity of the patriotic odes,** 
though at the same time the Spanish critic is very im- 
patient with the poet for his anti-Spanish expressions. 
Refinement and good taste, however, are the marks of 
Gutierrez* poems. 

In 1846 Gutierrez published a collection of the poems 
written by Spanish Americans with the. title of America 
Poetica. Its purpose of attracting the attention of Euro- 


peans undoubtedly succeeded. In the matter of taste in 
selection subsequent collections have not excelled it. 

Gutierrez passed a part of his period of exile in Chile 
and Peru where he materially broadened his knowledge 
of literature. In Chile, he was one of the group of Argen- 
tine exiles who were prominent in writing for the news- 

After the fall of Rosas, Gutierrez participated in poli- 
tics. He was a prominent member of the constitutional 
convention of 1853. And as minister of foreign affairs 
he negotiated an important treaty with Spain. Recogni- 
tion of Gutierrez' scholarship led to his appointment as 
rector of the University of Buenos Aires, a post which 
he held for many years. 

Gutierrez' interest in literary studies and his contri- 
butions to the Revista de Buenos Aires made it one of the 
most important reviews in America. Afterwards printed 
in book form his Bihliografia de la primera Imprenta de 
Buenos Aires and the Estudios biogrdficos y criticos sohre 
algunos Poetas anteriores al Siglo XIX made his name 
widely known among scholars. The presentation of a 
copy of the latter to George Ticknor was the origin of 
some interesting correspondence between the two men. 
To the end of his life Gutierrez encouraged the production 
of literature, as is evident by the many introductions usu- 
ally enthusiastic in tone which he wrote to accompany 
the volumes of younger men. From 1871 to 1877 he con- 
ducted with V. F. Lopez the Revista del Rio de la Plata 
whose pages were the medium of publication for their 
literary and historical studies. 

Among the enemies of Rosas the man who most nearly 


approached positive genius was DomingoFaustinoSar- 
miento (181 1-88). This fact is partly recognized in the 
epithet, "loco Sarmiento/* by which Rosas* official 
journal in Buenos Aires was accustomed to refer to him. 
His individuality was as uncommon as his intelli g e nce. 
From almost absolute indigence he rose by personal en- 
deavor to be presidfint-QL the^Argeatine_E.epublic. His 
schooling was limited to a few years in a primary school, 
but he utilized every means falling to his command to 
extend his education. One of the books which came into 
his possession about the age of sixteen was the auto- 
biography of Benjji min Franklin who thereafter became 

The vicissitudes of his career began at about the same 
age. Having been summoned to attend military drill by 
the governor of his province, he refused and soon there- 
after joined an uprising against the party in power. As 
the result of this act, after barely escaping with his life, 
he found himself an exile in Chile. 

The peculiarity of Sarmiento's politics resided in the 
fact that he was a provincial partisan of the citizens of 
tiuenos Aires who were demanding a strongly centralized 
government with the city at the head. In fact after the 
return from his first exile, he became a member of a branch 
of Echeyerria's Asociacion de Mayo. On the other hand 
Rosas represented the federalistic theory which accorded 
practical autonomy to the provinces, each ruled by a 
governor. Though nominally appointed by the govern- 
ment at Buenos Aires, these governors were local political 
bosses or caudillos, who like bandit chieftains were able 
by personal strength to maintain their positions. Con- 


sequently risings in the provinces though theoretically 
in support of the centralizing tendencies of the unitarian 
party were really directed against the local caudillo. The 
results of such fights were usually decisive, because the 
defeated were slaughtered or driven into exile. Sarmiento 
belonged in the province of San Juan, situated just below 
the Andes mountains through whose passes he more than 
once journeyed into safety in Chile. 

The full story of Sarmiento's participation in the fighting 
in his own country and his efforts to earn a living in Chile 
is needless here. In regard to the latter it is sufficient to 
say that teaching school and writing for the papers were 
the most important at the time and in their results on his 
subsequent life. His readiness to enter into a controversy 
and the biting character of his clever satire made him 
many enemies. But a Chilean politician, Manuel Montt, 
afterwards president of Chile, not only made use of his 
brilliant journalistic ability but also stuck by Sarmiento 
through thick and thin. Sarmiento's role, in the outburst 
of literary activity, which followed his criticism of Andres 
Bello's poem on El Incendio de la Compaiiia is elsewhere 

This preceded the establishment of the University of 
Chile of which Bello was appointed the first rector, while 
Sarmiento was given a place in the faculty of philosophy 
and humanities. At the first session of the faculty, he read 
a paper proposing certain changes in spelling Spanish 
which were later adopted. Partly to Sarmiento's initiative 
as well as to Bello's scholarship is due the fact that, of all 
countries where Spanish is spoken, Chile has the credit of 
1 See page 198. 


Introducing reforms_jn__ojlliQgraphy. Sarmiento also 
interested himself in the introduction in the pr imary 
schools of improvedje thods of teaching, children how to 
read^^ And at the instance of Montt he was made the 
principal of the newly established normal school. By the 
year 1845, however, the political situation claimed all his 
time for the editing of El Progreso in support of his patron 
Montt. Then appeared as daily articles the substance of 
the book to which Sarmiento chiefly owes his literary 
fame, Facundo la Civilizacion yja Barbarie. 
Aj This book, nominally the biography of Facundo Quiroga, 
the caudillo lieutenant of Rosas, performs for the latter's 
regime the same damnatory service as MarmoFs verses. 
Perhaps it was even more widely known. As the articles 
were promptly reprinted in Montevideo, it is not impossi- 
ble that they suggested to Marmol his treatment of Rosas 
in the celebrated novel Amalia published five or six years 
later. Facundo Quiroga had been active in Sarmiento's 
native province and it was to escape death at his hands 
that Sarmiento had first taken the road to Chile at the 
age of twenty. The tale of Quiroga's atrocities occupies 
only the central part of the book by_H[ay^ illustration to 
the economic and political principles developed in the 
remainder. The opening_cha4iters__are_ devoted to a de- 
scription of the Argentine country, both brilliant and 
masterful, and to the student of Argentine history indis- 
'pensable. The concluding chapters give an exposition of 
Sarmiento's political ideas which undoubtedly assisted in 
laising him to the presidency of the republic. 
^ The ph ysical co nditions of the Argentine, the isolation 
and primitive ignorance of the^aucho, his belie f in forj :e 


as the only means of overcoming iJi£ diflB-Cukles^jofJife, 
his consequent con tempt for a civilizatiQEL- based on in- 
telligence, are the causes, according to Sarmiento, of social 
anarchy in that country. The gau^o thus typifiesj)ar- 
barism in strife with civilization exemplified by the city of 
Buenos Aires. Without the support of the local caudillos, 
such as Facundo Quiroga, a tyranny like that of Rosas 
would be impossible. But even Rosas face to face with 
the difficulties of government was obliged to practice 
unitarian principles, "though the label on the bottle said 
differently." The Argentine Republic without rivers and 
mountains to mark natural boundaries can "be only one 
and indivisible." So thought Sarmiento in 1845, but after 
wider experience from his travels in the United States he 
became a champion of the federal principle which finally 
prevailed in Argentina. 

Sarmiento, believing that his book Facundo would open 
a way for him in Europe, desired to visit it. In this pur- 
pose he was assisted by his staunch friend Manuel Montt, 
who procured for him a commissionership ostensibly for 
the purpose of studying European schools with a view of 
finding possible reforms for Chilean schools. Throughout 
his European tour Sarmiento industriously made inspec- 
tion of educational systems of which he published an 
interesting report, DeJ^_EdAuacwn^j^opular, But from 
the point of view of literature his book published at the 
same time, Viajes por Europa, Africa y America is more 
important and interesting. The latter was widely re- 
produced in various journals. It consists of a series of 
brilliant pictures arranged to suit the political ideas of the 
writer but drawn with such clearness of detail that the 


unbiased reader may examine them with pleasure. He 
portrays France regenerated by its great revolution and 
placed at the head of humanity; on the other hand, Spain 
lies prostrate amid the artistic ruins of her former splen- 
dor; the future, however, belongs to the rising culture 
of North America. The anti-Spanish character of this 
book called forth a reply from a satirical writer, then 
popular in Spain, Juan Martinez Villergas who at- 
tempted to counteract its effect by a pamphlet, Sarmen- 
ticido a mal Sarmiento. But putting aside the po- 
litical reflections, Sarmiento's Viajes is of its kind good 

After an absence of three years, Sarmiento returned to 
Chile by way of North America and Cuba. Political 
affairs in Argentina were beginning to look toward the 
fall of Rosas. Sarmiento attacked him so vigorously in 
the press, that Rosas called on the Chilean government to 
forbid Sarmiento the right to continue his activity, a 
request which was promptly refused. Sarmiento replied 
by a pamphlet, discussing the form of government suitable 
for the country after Rosas* fall. Sarmiento was plainly 
endeavoring to make himself a central figure in any re- 
construction of the government. To further this pur- 
pose he published, R ecuerdos de Prov inciay a series of 
sketches ajid _ anecdotes ab out himself, his parents, rela- 
tives and friends. The student of literature must 
recognize the lifelike quality of his characterization 
equal in many respects to Addison's famous De Cov- 
erley papers. To Sarmiento's numerous enemies, the 
book seemed only another instance of the man's over- 
w helming vani ty, — so great, according to the Chilean 


Benjamin Vicuna Mackenna, that the whole pampa would 
not hold it.^ 

Accordingly when General Jose Urquiza, the caudillo of 
the province of Entre Rios, hitherto the strongest sup- 
porter of Rosas, raised the banner of revolt, Sarmiento 
joined his army. General Urquiza, however, after the 
victory at Monte Caseros, disappointed his followers by 
continuing on his own account the personal government of 
his predecessor. Sarmiento returned to Chile once more 
to engage in journalism. But his stay was short, for 
when Buenos Aires rebelled successfully against Urquiza, 
Sarmiento came again to the city. From 1855, he played a 
prominent part in politics. After the battle of Pavon 
where Mitre*s defeat of Urquiza decided for all time the 
question of constitutional government for the Argentine,, 
Sarmiento was sent to the outlying provinces as auditor 
general of the armies, a position which gave him great 
influence. It helped him to become governor of his native 
province of San Juan to which office he was elected in 
February, 1862. He became so arbitrary and independent 
that he worried the central government at Buenos Aires. 
President Mitre solved the difficulty by appointing him 
ambassador to Chile and later minister to the United 
States. While in the latter country in 1867 he was 
elected to the presidency of Argentina. 

Sarmiento's administration was marked in the matter 
of progress by the completion of the railroad from Rosario 
to Cordoba, an event which was celebrated by an exposi- 
tion in Cordoba. The President's journey thither was a 
continuous ovation because among the provincials, if 
* "su vanidad no cabe en toda la Pampa." 


not in Buenos Aires, he was popular. At his suggestion 
also a naval academy was founded and three vessels of 
war purchased. He caused to be put in effect the clause 
of the constitution calling for the establishment of a 
national Argentine Bank. 

On the other hand, his administration was harassed by 
the outbreak in Entre Rios of two uprisings by the cau- 
dillo Lopez Jordan^ who had assassinated the old leader 
General Urquiza. The second time Sarmiento proposed 
to deal with the outlaw in the manner followed in the 
United States at the time of Lincoln's assassination, 
namely, by putting a heavy price on the bandit's head. 
The proposition was rejected by the Congress and by 
public opinion on the ground that it was an inalienable 
right of a man of Spanish race to start a rebellion and 
therefore it would be wrong to treat him like a criminal. 
Lopez Jordan replied to Sarmiento by hiring some Italian 
sailors to murder him, an attempt which happily failed. 
Sarmiento, on account of the rigidity of his character, 
was not popular, but his administration was certainly 
an era of progress. 

Though Sarmiento retired from the presidency in 1874 
he did not withdraw from public life. It is needless to 
follow his various activities here. It is sufficient to call 
attention to the fact that his interest in the cause of popu- 
lar education was still predominant, and among other 
offices held by him he was the first national superin- 
tendent of Argentine schools, and effected many reforms. 
In recognition of the courtesies shown Sarmiento in the 
United States, especially in Boston, where he imbibed 
many of his ideas about schools from acquaintance with 


Horace Mann, the Argentine government in 191 3 pre- 
sented that city with a statue of their great educator and 
former president. 

The statue is also a symbol of the growth after his 
death of the appreciation by his countrymen of Sarmien- 
to's services to his country. In his lifetime his advocacy 
of various North American ideas was resented and most 
of those whose adoption he forced were discarded. In 
the judgment of Paul Groussac, the able librarian of the 
National Library at Buenos Aires, Sarmiento is, in the 
Emersonian sense, "the representative man of the South 
American intellect"; and "the most genuine and en- 
joyable writer of South America, the rude and sincere 
colorist of his native plains." 

Though the officially printed collection of Sarmiento's 
writings fill fifty volumes, his literary fame is based on 
those already mentioned. The characteristics of hjs_st5de, 
its swift movement, his ability to selec t the strikingjietail 
or apt anecdote, may be partly illustrated by the follow- 
ing extract from the description of Argentina in the first 
part of Facundo.^ Moreover, no better introduction could 
be given to a study of the development of the most original 
of all Spanish-American poetry, that pertaining to the 

There is another poetry which echoes over the solitary plains, 
the popular, natural, and irregular poetry of the gaucho. In 
1840, Echeverria, then a young man, lived some months in the 

1 Facundo was translated by Mrs. Horace Mann and published under 
the title of Life in the Argentine Republic in the Time of Tyrants, Boston, 
1868. The volume also contains other extracts from Sarmiento's writ- 
ings, especially from the Recuerdos de Provincia dealing with his family. 


country, where the fame of his verses upon the pampa had al- 
ready preceded him; the gauchos surrounded him with respect 
and affection, and when a new-comer showed symptoms of the 
scorn he felt for the little minstrel, some one whispered, "He is 
a poet," and that word dispelled every prejudice. 

It is well known that the guitar is the popular instrument 
of the Spanish race; it is also common in South America. The 
majo or troubadour is discoverable in the gaucho of the country, 
and in the townsman of the same class. The cielito, the dance 
of the pampas, is animated by the same spirit as the Spanish 
jaleo, the dance of Andalusia; the dancer makes castanets of his 
fingers; all his movements disclose the majo; the action of his 
shoulders, his gestures, all his ways, from that in which he puts 
on his hat, to his style of spitting through his teeth, all are of 
the pure Andalusian type. 

The name of gaucho outlaw is not applied wholly as an un- 
complimentary epithet. The law has been for many years in 
pursuit of him. His name is dreaded, spoken under the breath, 
but not in hate, and almost respectfully. He is a mysterious 
personage; his abode is the pampa; his lodgings are the thistle 
fields; he lives on partridges and hedgehogs, and whenever he 
is disposed to regale himself upon a tonpue, he lassos a cow, 
throws her without assistance, kills her, takes his favorite morsel, 
and leaves the rest for the carrion birds. The gaucho outlaw 
will make his appearance in a place just left by soldiers, will talk 
in a friendly way with the admiring group of good gauchos around 
him; provide himself with tobacco, yerba mate, which makes 
a refreshing beverage, and if he discovers the soldiers, he mounts 
his horse quietly and directs his steps leisurely to the wilderness, 
not even deigning to look back. He is seldom pursued; that 
would be killing horses to no purpose, for the beast of the gaucho 
outlaw is a bay courser, as noted in his own way as his master. 
If he ever happens to fall unawares into the hands of the soldiers, 
he sets upon the densest masses of his assailants, and breaks 
through them, with the help of a few slashes left by his knife 
upon the faces or bodies of his opponents; and lying along the 
ridge of his horse's back to avoid the bullets sent after him, he 


hastens toward the wilderness, until having left his pursuers at 
a convenient distance, he pulls up and travels at his ease. The 
poets of the vicinity add this new exploit to the biography of 
the desert hero, and his renown flies through all the vast region 
around. '^Sometimes he appears before the scene of a rustic 
festival with a young woman whom he has carried off, and 
takes a place in the dance with his partner, goes through the 
figures of the cielito, and disappears, unnoticed. Another day 
he brings the girl he has seduced, to the house of her offended 
family, sets her down from his horse's croup, and reckless of the 
parents' curses by which he is followed, quietly betakes himself 
to his boundless abode. 

And now we have the idealization of this life of resistance, 
civilization, barbarism, and danger. The gaucho Cantor corre- 
sponds to the singer, bard, or troubadour of the Middle Ages. 
The Cantor has no fixed abode; he lodges where night surprises 
him; his fortune consists in his verses and in his voice. Wherever 
the wild mazes of the cielito are threaded, wherever there is a 
glass of wine to drink, the Cantor has his place and his particular 
part in the festival. The Argentine gaucho only drinks when 
excited by music and verse, and every grocery has its guitar 
ready for the hands of the Cantor who perceives from afar 
where the help of his "gay science'* is needed, by the group of 
horses about the door. 

The Cantor intersperses his heroic songs with the tale of his 
own exploits. Unluckily his profession of Argentine bard does 
not shield him from the law. He can tell of a couple of stabs he 
has dealt, of one or two "misfortunes" (homicides) of his, and 
of some horse or girl he carried off. 

To conclude, the original poetry of the minstrel is clumsy, 
monotonous, and irregular, when he resigns himself to the in- 
spiration of the moment. It is occupied rather with narration 
than with the expression of feeling, and is replete with imagery 
relating to the open country, to the horse, and to the scenes of 
the wilderness, which makes it metaphorical and grandiose. 
When he is describing his own exploits or those of some renowned 
evil-doer, he resembles the Neapolitan improvisatore, his style 


being unfettered, commonly prosaic, but occasionally rising to 
the poetic level for some moments, to sink again into dull and 
scarcely metrical recitation. The Cantor possesses, moreover, 
a repertory of popular poems in octosyllabic lines variously 
combined into stanzas of five lines, of ten, or of eight. Among 
them are many compositions of merit which show some inspira- 
tion and feeling. 

The character whom Sarmiento terms a 'cantor' was more 
popularly known in Buenos Aires as a * payador,' a name 
derived from the verb * payar * meaning to improvise in 
verse to the accompaniment of the guitar. As Sarmiento 
intimates, the popular poetry of Argentina is a derivative 
of the Andalusian of the Middle Ages and has a long popu- 
lar development. The episodes related by the payador 
reveal a certain epic quality tinged with Moorish sadness 
but tempered by the Andalusian keenness for the satirical 
and the comic. Frequent also is the intent to teach a 
moral lesson; barbarous at times, for the purpose often 
is to inculcate a spirit of rebellion. 

B. Hidalgo and J. G. Godoy used the popular poetry 
in dialogue form during the revolutionary epoch for the 
propaganda of their patriotic ideas, but they did not make 
a literary character of the gaucho. Among the first to 
put the gaucho into cultivated literature was J. M. Gutier- 
rez whose Amores del Payador was written in February, 
1838. It is worth while to note that this date is only a 
year later than the publication of Echeverria's La Cautiva 
and his suggestion regarding the utilization of Argentine 
sources for the creation of a native literaturey^Zoj Amores 
del Payador should be ranked high. It is the typical 
gaucho legend. It is full of true poetical feeling. It is well 
written in good Castilian. It is highly dramatic. The 


reader is introduced to Juana who is waiting at the door 
of her father's house for her lover, the payador. At last 
he rides up mounted on his swift courser. As he is reciting 
his amorous ditty, a rich suitor for Juana's hand appears. 
The men's words bring on a fight. When Juana tries to 
separate them she is mortally stabbed by the rich man 
who is promptly killed by the payador. Over the corpse 
of his beloved he sings the characteristic mournful gaucho 
lament. Then covering her body with his poncho he 
departs to take up again his wild life in the wilderness. 

About 1844 were written Bartolome Mitre's gaucho 
poems. Among them is the first treatment of the legend 
of Santos Vega, a gaucho who has been called the spirit 
of "popular poetry incarnate in a Don Juan of the coun- 
tryside." Santos Vega was a payador who died of grief 
because he had been beaten in a contest with a young 
amateur in the art of improvisation. Popular report 
asserted that the stranger before whose skill the inspira- 
tion of Santos Vega had failed was no other than the 
Devil. Ten years later after a more realistic representa- 
tion of the gaucho was coming into vogue, Mitre published 
the second edition of his poems accompanied by an intro- 
duction and notes. In them he wrote, "Primitive cus- 
toms have had many singers but almost all have limited 
themselves to copying them instead of giving them a 
poetic character. So it is that, in order to make gauchos 
talk, the poets have used all the gaucho idioms, thus 
raising a jargon to the rank of poetry. Poetry is not the 
servile copy but the poetic interpretation of nature." 
These words are an excellent expression of the two lines 
along which this class of literature developed. 


During the revolutionary period the gaucho served as a 
mouthpiece for the opinions of Bartolome Hidalgo to 
whose celebrated dialogues of Chano and Contreras refer- 
ence has already been made. Their realistic form and 
popular idiom served as a model for Hilario Ascasubi 
(1807-75) whom, some, if not Mitre, have praised for 
his "faithful reproduction of nature." One of Ascasubi's 
earliest pieces was a dialogue between Chano y Contreras 
who are represented as serving together in the trenches 
before Montevideo and conversing on the past glories 
of the country. 

Ascasubi was himself a soldier who had suflFered im- 
prisonment at the command of Rosas. After two years 
in a dungeon he learned that the order for his execution 
had been issued, but the connivance of his jailers afforded 
him an opportunity to escape from the prison by dropping 
over the wall into the moat. In Montevideo he was en- 
couraged to write his patriotic verses by Florencio Varela, 
then the leading journalist of the city. At the latter*s 
expense thousands of copies of one poem were printed 
and distributed to the soldiers in General Lavalle's army 
as they set out on their campaign against Rosas. This 
poem bore the title of Media Cana del Campo, the name 
of a favorite dance, and was written in a meter which 
allowed it to be sung to the tempo of the dance. Its 
spirited words were intended to hearten the soldiers by 
dwelling on the defeat of Rosas at the battle of Cagancha. 

Florencio Varela (1807-48), younger brother of Juan 
Cruz Varela, won the admiration of his contemporaries 
by his energy and abilities. They sent him to Europe 
to enlist the assistance of England and France at the 


opening of the great siege of Montevideo. There also 
he made a favorable impression of his personality. After 
his return his journalistic attacks on Rosas and his lieu- 
tenant Oribe were so fierce that they dispatched an assassin 
who succeeded in his purpose one night at Varela's very 
doorstep. Beside his political writing, Varela was the 
author of some odes in the classical style on the hospital 
of the Brothers of Charity, on anarchy and on peace, all 
much praised by his friends. The lofty sentiments of 
the poems reveal the noble character of the man. 

With his encouragement A scas ubia)ntinued to produce 
his gaucho dialogues and letters. A favorite device of the 
poet was the letter written by the gaucho Donato Jurao 
to his wife narrating recent events or by Paulino Lucero 
discussing the cruel deeds of Rosas such as the execution 
of Camila O'Gorman and the priest Gutierrez. (This act 
was staged by the Uruguayan Fajardo.) These occa- 
sional pieces were afterwards collected in a volume and 
printed with the title Paulino Lucero or "the gauchos of 
the rio de la Plata singing and fighting against the tyrants 
of the Argentine and the Oriental Republics, 1839-51: 
relating all the episodes of the nine years* siege which 
Montevideo sustained heroically and unequally as well as 
the combats which the gaucho patriots fought until the 
tyrant J. M. Rosas and his satellites were laid low." As 
the long sub-title promises, the book is a perfect mine of 
facts, especially for the student of local manners and cus- 

., His success in political verse led Ascasubi to attempt 

an ambitious reconstruction of the life of the gaucho at the 
end of the eighteenth century. The title which he finally 


gave to the collection of his sketches originally published 
in 1 85 1, was Santos Vega los Mellizos de la Flor. In this 
picaresque novel in verse the payador Santos Vega, "aquel 
de la larga fama," relates the Hfe and criminal deeds of a 
famous gaucho outlaw who flourished between 1778 and 
1808. In this manner the author finds opportunity to 
describe life on the estancias, its danger from the Indians, 
the rural customs and ideas, the good features of gaucho 
character as well as the evil and to celebrate the some- 
what mythological Santos Vega himself. 

After the fall of Rosas and the establishment of the rule 
of General Urquiza, Ascasubi began the publication of a 
periodical entitled Aniceto el Gallo from whose pages a 
gaucho by that name preached unitarian doctrines to the 
federalistic adherents of Urquiza. Many of his old poems 
against Rosas were reprinted. Though public interest 
kept the periodical alive for a year during 1853 and 54, not 
many political conversions have been attributed to the 
influence of Aniceto el Gallo. 

Ascasubi*s verses are so closely connected with con- 
temporary events and can scarcely be read without con- 
stant reference to a glossary that they lack interest now, 
but to his friends he was a "second Beranger." In a 
degree the footnotes with which he provided the final 
edition of his poems are more interesting than the text. 

When Mitre condemned the gaucho jargon in the 
theory of poetics prefaced to the second edition of his 
Rimasy he was preparing the way for a poet of the younger 
generation. Ricardo Gutierrez (1836-96) published in 
i860 a volume of poems which must have obtained Mitre's 
approval. The long poems contained therein, Ldzaro and 


La Fibra Salvaje, have been termed by enthusiastic ad- 
mirers the most criollo of all Argentine poems. At the 
same time their expression of the passion of love is most 
intense. Ldzaro is the tale of a gaucho disappointed in 
love. La Fibra Salvaje possesses the intensity of a gaucho 
tale at least as the title suggests. It depicts the despair 
of a lover, Ezequiel, who separated from Lucia, the object 
of his passion, becomes a monk when she marries another 
man. After several years the husband, Don Julio, comes 
in remorse to the monk's cell and, without knowing the 
latter's personal interest in the matter, confesses that he 
had sold his wife for gold to satisfy his passion for gambling. 
The monk is so inflamed with anger that he challenges 
Julio to fight. Julio is killed. Then Ezequiel lays 
aside his monk's garb to enter the army of San Martin 
in one of whose victorious battles he meets his own 

Ricardo Gutierrez became a physician. The experiences 
of his calling are revealed in many of his poems, for he 
constantly cries to God in prayer for consolation for the 
miseries which he witnesses. In 1880 he published a novel 
Cristian. The protagonist of that name is a student who, 
during his vacation on his brother's ranch, falls in love 
with his brother's wife to whom he discourses much of the 
soul. And finally like Werther commits suicide. The 
significance of Ricardo Gutierrez Hes in the fact that he 
I penetrates the depth of the gaucho soul and reveals as no 
\ other of his countrymen its inner workings prompting 
to the deeds of violence so frequently described. 

Poems in the gaucho jargon after the cessation of the 
publication of Aniceto el Gallo were next written by 


Estanislao del Campo (born 1835). His first verses 
signed "Anastasio el Polio" were ascribed to Ascasubi till 
the latter denied their authorship in a letter from Aniceto 
el Gallo congratulating Anastasio el Polio upon his first 
efforts as a cantor. The best of Del Campo*s early poems 
is the account of the battle of Pavon fought in 1861 which 
it will be remembered established the supremacy of the 
province of Buenos Aires in revolt under the generalship 
of Mitre against Urquiza. This poem gives a mock ac- 
count of the battle as a report from the defeated general. 
Del Campo also wrote verse in a more elevated style; for 
example, his ode to America on a text taken from Mar- 
mol's lines that America prophesies liberty to the world 
is readable. Were it not however for one gaucho poem 
of his he would be speedily forgotten. At the suggestion 
of Ricardo Gutierrez, to whom he dedicated his produc- 
tion, he composed and published in 1866 a long poem en- 
titled Fausto. Impresiones del gaucho Anastasio el Polio 
<n la representacion de esta opera. And it is a masterpiece. 

It is a masterpiece because, in retelling the story, in 
homely dialect, Del Campo has retained the literary values 
and pathos of the original and at the same time he paints 
the reflection of the tragedy in the gaucho*s soul. The 
poem fulfills the demand of Mitre that the poet should 
treat his material in an artistic manner; yet it is filled with 
gaucho sentiment. The setting of the story, Anastasio el 
Polio's breezy humor, his metaphorical comparisons drawn 
from his daily life are incomparable bits of realism. Its 
effectiveness is increased by the simple direct way in which 
the story proceeds. 

In the opening lines of the poem the reader is introduced 


to the gaucho Laguna riding along on his dappled pony, 
gay with trappings of silver, so heavy that he seemed to 
bear on him "a Potosi." Arriving at the river he had dis- 
mounted and was unsaddling his horse when he caught 
sight of a man's clothes. Then his horse neighed as a man 
on horseback came out of the river. Laguna recognizes 
his old friend Anastasio el Polio. After they embrace, 
Laguna relates his recent adventures. He had been to 
the city to collect money due him for some wool but he had 
been greeted by excuses, "To-morrow. Come later. No 
money." El Polio jests him on the amount of silver that 
he carries about. Laguna explains that he won it from a 
gambler, who had the insolence to accuse him of witch- 
craft. "According to his story you'd think the Devil and 

I " "Hush! friend, the other night I saw the Devil. 

Cross yourself." Besought by his friend to relate the 
adventure, el Polio, after fortifying himself by a drink 
from Laguna's flask, began. 

Being near the theater Colon, he saw a crowd going in, 
so he paid his admission and went in too. After climbing 
a hundred and one steps he found his seat. Then the band 
began to play and the curtain went up. A doctor made 
known his weariness with life because he was in love with 
a little blond. In despair he called on the Devil who then 
appeared. Laguna doubts that it really was the Devil. 
"Half the city saw him," maintains el Polio. The Devil 
then gave the doctor a glimpse of the blond. "Ah! she 
was as beautiful as the Immaculate Virgin." The Devil, 
before doing more for the doctor, insisted on his signing 
a contract, and when it was signed, laughed so that "it 
rang in my ears all night." 


In this manner el Polio narrates the story of the opera 
act by act. At the end of the tragedy he tells how Faust 
visiting the prison prayed. Then the wall opened and the 
girl's soul ascended to glory. Saint Michael brandishing 
his sword came down from among the clouds, before 
whom the Devil sank into the ground. "Lend me your 
handkerchief. My head sweats; how could you see such 
witchcraft?" cries Laguna. "I went about for four or 
five days with a headache," replies el Polio. 

The first edition of Fausto distributed twenty thousand 
copies, the proceeds of which were donated by the author 
to the military hospitals. But more popular still has been 
Martin Fierro, published in 1872, by Jose Hernandez 
(1834-86). The author was a journalist in Buenos Aires, 
who founded the 'Revista del Rio de la Plata, The editions 
of his poem, nearly tripled in length by a second part, 
La Vuelta de Martin FierrOy are still issued. As a measure 
of its popularity may be taken the fact that it used to 
be on sale in country groceries and the often quoted 
anecdote of the messenger sent to buy various supplies 
and "the latest part o{ Martin Fierro" 

The poem relates in the language and manner of the 
gaucho, the story of Martin Fierro's misfortunes. Once 
a small farmer with wife and child, he was taken from them 
by a recruiting officer. The regiment into which he was 
drafted fights with the Indians. After a while he deserts 
and returns to his farm. He finds it without signs of life 
and the buildings burnt. So he becomes a "matrero," 
or gaucho outlaw, in company with one Cruz. Tired of 
being hunted by the police, Martin smashes his guitar as 
a sign of renouncing his ties with the white race and joins 


the Indians. La Vuelta de Martin Fierro, or his return 
to civilization, has less movement and long moralizing 
sermons by Padre Vizcacha. These however were not dis- 
pleasing to its readers who found their own sentiments 
voiced by his words. The generation who received this 
poem understood it as a challenge to the government in 
Buenos Aires that was legislating for the country people 
without understanding their needs. 

To others the poem symbolized the whole race of the 
gaucho who has now disappeared before the advance of 
the railway and European immigration. The truth of 
Hernandez' representation was instantly recognized. Her- 
nandez was brought up in the country and thoroughly 
understood the physical conditions and the characters 
whose daily life, passions, pleasures, aspirations, and 
dreams he portrayed so minutely. 

As literature Martin Fierro is ranked high by the Span- 
ish critic, Miguel de Unamuno, who finds in it a commin- 
gling of the epic and the lyric. Further he says: "When 
the payador of the pampa beneath the shade of the ombu 
in the calm of the desert, or on a pleasant night by the 
light of the stars intones, to the accompaniment of his 
Spanish guitar, the monotone decimas of Martin Fierro 
and the gauchos listen with emotion to the poetry of the 
pampa, they hear, without being aware of the fact, the 
inextinguishable echoes of their mother Spain, echoes 
which with their blood and soul were bequeathed to them 
by their parents. Martin Fierro is the song of the Spanish 
warrior who, after having planted the cross in Granada, 
went to America to serve in the vanguard of civilization. 
Therefore his song is filled with the Spanish spirit; his 


language is Spanish, his idioms, his maxims, his worldly 
wisdom, his soul are Spanish." 

With the popularity of Martin Fierro, the gaucho be- 
came the fashion. As a part of an evening entertainment 
or as a side show to a circus the payador flourished. A 
few professionals attained celebrity for their ready wit 
in improvisation for it was customary to pit against each 
other representatives of difl^erent provinces. 

With less realism and more of the artistry demanded by 
Mitre, the gaucho next appeared in verse in the Tradi- 
Clones Argentinas of Rafael Obligado. These three brief 
poems are poetical interpretations of the Santos Vega 
legend. In the first a payador relates how the ghost of 
Santos Vega had played at night on a guitar accidentally 
left by a well. The second brings the famous gaucho to a 
ghostly love tryst. The third narrates the death of 
Santos Vega in contest with an unknown payador, to 
whom Obligado gives the symbolic name Juan Sin Ropa. 
According to the legend Santos Vega, the unexcelled, had 
succumbed only in a contest with the Devil; but this vic- 
tor's name typifies the new immigration which has brought 
about the passing of the old conditions in the country. 
In the words of the poem, Juan Sin Ropa's song "was 
the mighty cry of progress on the wind." 

Written with a like symbolism as if to mark the dis- 
appearance of the gaucho, at the close of the nineteenth 
century was published in 1899 the last recorded gaucho 
poem, Nastasio, by Francisco Soto y Calvo. It is the 
story of the death of old Anastasio, the gaucho, after a 
terrific hurricane had robbed him of his wife and children. 
Into this poem filled with the spirit of the pampa, the 



author has attempted to concentrate the essence of all 
the rich gaucho literature. 

Two years later Soto y Calvo brought out a counter- 
part to this poem in Nostalgia in which he portrays the 
new life that has come into the country with the influx 
of foreign immigration. An Italian immigrant, Vittor, 
falls in love with a maid servant of native birth whose 
employers take him as a farmhand. After their marriage 
riches come to them as the reward of sturdy effort and 
allow Vittor to put into execution his long cherished am- 
bition of returning to Italy. But the couple are not happy; 
they are homesick for the pampa (hence the title.) One's 
country is where one is well off. The story would have 
been better if its twelve thousand lines had been prose. 

The prose treatment of the gaucho began about 1880, 
when realistic fiction in the style of Zola was coming into 
vogue. Eduardo Gutierrez, making use of police reports, 
filled the literary sections of the newspapers with the 
exploits of notorious criminals so that Juan Moreira, the 
assassin, and El Jorobado, thief, became household 
names. But as M. Garcia Merou points out, the romantic 
payador Santos Vega has become a degenerate who 
spends the intervals between his robberies in getting drunk. 

But Eduardo Gutierrez by adapting one of the episodes 
of his novel Juan Moreira to pantomimic representation 
in a circus opened another path in literature to the gaucho. 
At first to fill the part in the pantomime real gauchos rode 
their horses into the circus and strummed the guitar. Soon 
spoken dialogue was added to their roles. In this play 
the brothers Podesta achieved a reputation and continued 
it independent of the circus. Their success encouraged 


them to stage Martin Fierro, Then original plays about 
gauchos were written both in Argentina and Uruguay. 
So to the present day the gaucho has kept the stage. And 
from this popular origin has developed a class of plays 
which represent the manners and speech of the lower 

Public enthusiasm over the productions of the popular 
poetry never hindered cultivation of verse along more 
classic lines. The poet called on to voice the sentiments 
of Buenos Aires at a public gathering in celebration of 
the establishment of the third French Republic in 1870 
was Martin_CQronado. He had attracted attention only 
the year before by the essentially virile tone and sparkling 
eloquence of his verses, a quality which made them very 
suitable for declamation. As a poet of occasion he prac- 
ticed also the epigram and the jocose. But his most 
interesting poems are narrative pictures of dramatic 
events in contemporary life. In Los Hijos de la Pampa 
his heart beats in sympathy with the soldier who, wounded 
by the same bullet that had killed his horse, lovingly 
caresses the animal before dying. Angela is the story of 
a young woman whose conduct fits her name. At her 
wedding ceremony a woman appears to claim the prospec- 
tive bridegroom as the father of a child in her arms. 
Angela recognizes a bow of ribbon in the woman's posses- 
sion as one which she had herself given the man as a token 
of love. Removing her wedding veil and putting it on 
the woman, Angela compels the man to marry the mother 
of his child. Later Angela dies of a broken heart. In 
these narrative poems Coronado reveals himself as a 
disciple of Ricardo Gutierrez. The two poets resemble 


each other also in their intensity of expression when treat- 
ing the passion of love. 

Coronado on the other hand essayed the drama in pro- 
ductions the most important since those of Marmol. 
La Rosa Blanca, 1877, dramatizes the efforts of a physician 
to cure a girl who had become insane through disappointed 
love. Luz de Luna y Luz de Incendio, played a year later, 
stages with great reaHsm the days of Rosas. Cuitifio, a 
despicable villain and officer of the tyrant, appears at 
an evening party where he succeeds in getting his victim, 
young Emilio, to betray his unitarian sentiments, whereat 
he is arrested and taken to the barracks of the federal 
soldiers. The scene at the barracks gives opportunity 
for declamatory eloquence from Emilio. The drunken 
Cuitifio and his soldiers display the utmost brutality and 
thereby prepare the spectator for the killings in the last act. 
These plays were partly the outcome of the efforts of a 
literary society, the "Academia Argentina," to promote 
the theater. The members proclaimed themselves dis- 
ciples of Echeverria with the purpose of nationalizing 
literature on the model of La Cautiva. As a step in this 
direction they occupied themselves also in preparing a 
dictionary of expressions peculiar to Argentina. The 
member of this society who won the greatest name for 
>L himself as a poet was Rafael Obligado. One of his best 
poems, Echeverria, which may be taken as the manifesto 
of the society, turns on the idea : — 

Lancemonos nosotros sus hermanos 
Por la senda inmortal de Echeverria. 

Obligado is a genuine poet with the truest feeling for 


the intimate moods of nature. As his family was wealthy, 
he was able to spend his time observing her and putting 
into verse such impressions as he willed. His earliest 
long poem, La PampUy written in 1872 under the direct 
imitation of his chosen master, is an ambitious attempt at 
word painting. But he was more successful in such gems 
as La Flor del Seibo and El Nido de Boyeros. The former 
is a letrilla composed to vie with the Cuban poet, Placido's 
La Flor de la Caha to which Obligado refers in the opening 
lines when he declares his belief that the inspiring Cuban 
beauty had no blacker or prettier eyes than a certain little 
Argentine maid. Perhaps the same little maid was the 
passionate, tender-hearted lass of the adventure with the 
birds' nest related in El Nido de Boyeros. The poet says 
he is acquainted with a girl of thirteen who likes to row 
about the river amusing herself by picking flowers. When- 
ever she sees him she haughtily threatens him with her 
fist. One day he saw her approach a nest of boyeros 
hanging over the water. When she tried to get it with a 
long stick she just missed it. Thereby losing her balance 
she was thrown to her seat in the boat. In anger she 
started to strike the nest, but the cries of the young birds 
deterred her. Instead she gently rocked the nest. While 
engaged in this motherly occupation she caught sight of 
the poet watching her. And thereafter when she passes 
him in her boat instead of threatening him, she rows 
quickly past with averted head. 

Beside the breath of the pampa and the woodland 
fragance rare in Argentine poetry, Obligado's lines reveal 
tender human sentiments. The sense of personal loss 
through the death of loved ones has seldom been more 


exquisitely expressed than in El Hogar Facto. And from 
El Hogar Paterno the reader discovers that the poet's love 
for his country is rooted in his love for his home. The 
total number of Obligado's poems is small, a fact which 
testifies to the care with which he wrote. At the same 
time he claimed a romanticist's freedom of treatment. 

Partly from this and partly from his choice of subjects 
came about the most interesting episode of his literary 
career. One day he sent a challenge written in tercets 
to his friend Calixto Oyuela to debate in a Justa Literaria 
the old question of classicism and romanticism. Nothing 
averse, the latter, who had just been winning some prizes 
in Buenos Aires for his classic verses, replied in tercets 
accepting the challenge. In the same meter and form 
they reproached each other for what each one believed to 
be the other's shortcomings. Obligado thought that Oyuela 
was neglectful of the light of the present ideal and unmind- 
ful of the Andes. Oyuela replied that Obligado was irrever- 
ent of the past. Finally the poets agreed to submit their 
contest to an older poet, Carlos Guido y Spano, a man who 
inspired great respect and even affection in his contempo- 
raries. In a genial letter, interesting to the student of lit- 
erature in many ways, Guido y Spano replied in this strain. 

The guitar is worth as much as the lyre. For a new 
world, new songs. But form must be considered. Ob- 
ligado's exquisite Flor del Seibo would perish were it not 
preserved in a vase of fine crystal. Therefore the judge 
advises Oyuela to stop reading Homer and spend a few 
hours with Aniceto el Gallo and Martin Fierro. On the 
other hand, Obligado should go to Athens and Greece. 
Then the two poets will understand each other without 


need of his decision. Let them make truce and continue 
singing each in his own fashion. 

ObHgado referring to the ancient habit of presenting 
the victor of a poetic contest with a rose, sent to Oyuela 
his Flor del Seibo. The latter in acceptance complimented 
his adversary on possessing more true American savor 
than any other and advised that they make war on their 
common enemy, that literary pest, Gallic imitation. 

To understand the significance of the Justa LiUraria, 
it is necessary to consider certain minor movements in 
Argentine poesy. Even Echeverria believed that poetry 
was a sort of handmaid to morality and humanitarianism. 
A spiritualistic tendency of this kind easily joined itself 
to an undercurrent of classicism. And when about the 
year 1880 literary societies established contests in Buenos 
Aires to which they gave the old name of "juegos florales,** 
the poems submitted to the judges were compositions on 
the classical or philosophical order. 

Calixto Oyuela was a prize winner in these contests, 
in 1 88 1 with his Canto al Arte and the next year with 
Eros. The latter is a very beautiful poem, distinguished 
on the one hand for its correctness of diction and classic 
spirit and on the other for the development of the senti- 
ment which it expresses. The poet declares that love is 
the inspiration of all his verses. Every flower, the breeze, 
each wave of the sea, the last breath of evening, the shin- 
ing stars, all nature speaks to him of love. 

This poem is perhaps the fairest product of the purely 
classic school. In the same year in which it was written, 
died the man of whom the classicists believed themselves 
disciples, namely, Carlos Encina (1839-82). When nine- > 



teen years of age, he won first prize in a school contest 
by a Canto lirico al Colon, Later he wrote two poetical 
dissertations, Canto al Arte and La Lucha por la Idea. 
They comprise practically all his compositions in verse, 
for he became a teacher of mathematics and of philosophy 
along evolutionary lines. His poems are judged some- 
what harshly by Menendez y Pelayo on the ground that 
they are not poetic but are merely the versification of 
Hegelian and Spencerian ideas. How the Argentines re- 
garded the poems has been told by Ricardo Gutierrez. 
To them they opened a new course of aesthetics which 
was the religion of the new school. 

Carlos Guido y Spano (bom 1829) was, however, the 
grand old man of the classicists. He was the one who 
gave them translations from the Greek and showed them 
by example what correctness of form meant. His sober 
and severe style was a development of his later days as 
one may discover by reading the verses published in the 
collection of 1871, Hojas al Viento. Here are revealed the 
same tenderness of feeling and the same breadth of sym- 
pathy which made him personally so beloved. Sympathy 
with the bereaved or the sufferer from injustice is the 
dominant note of his best poems. 

Perhaps he inherited this trait from his father Tomas 
Guido, one of San Martin's generals at the battles of 
Chacabuco and Maipu, and an orator of renown. At 
any rate the poet relates in the autobiographical sketch 
prefixed to Rdfagas, a volume of collected newspaper ar- 
ticles, two notable instances of his own nobility of char- 
acter. In 1 85 1, his brother being sick in Paris, Carlos 
was sent by his parents to look after him. When he ar- 


rived he found his brother dead. Paris was in an uproar 
of revolution. Filled with democratic enthusiasm for 
justice the young Argentine fought behind the barricades. 
Luckily he came away alive, for in 1871 an opportunity 
offered for him to show the same spirit of disregard of 
self, to the benefit of his native city. Buenos Aires was 
being ravaged by an epidemic of yellow fever and it was 
necessary for a popular commission to fight the peril. 
As a member of it Carlos Guido y Spano distinguished 
himself by his activity. 

Sympathy with a sister nation inspired him to his most 
ambitious poe m, Mex ico: canto epico. When the French 
invaded Mexico in 1862, their army at first met with 
defeat. Guidons sentiments on this occasion are so ve- 
hemently expressed that the Mexican critic, Sosa, declares 
that one might easily suppose the author of the poem to 
be a Mexican. But Guido y Spano was equally moved 
by the injustice of an act when his own country was a 
participant. The result of Argentina's coalition with 
Brazil to oppress Paraguay is most pathetically signified 
in Nenia, This brief poem is one of the most precious 
gems of Argentine lyrism. It is the lament of a young 
Paraguayan girl who has lost her parents, brothers and 
lover by the ravages of the war. The lament begins and 
ends with an apostrophe to the urutau, a native bird of 
sweetest song, perched on the yatay, a kind of palm tree. 

Llora, Uora, urutau, 
en las ramas del yatay; 
ya no existe el Paraguay, 
donde naci como tu. 
Llora, llora, urutau. 


No less affecting is the poet in rendering his personal 
feelings, whether it be to his mother, A mi Madre, or to a 
friend just bereaved by the death of her father, A I Pasar. 
Few poems depicting the awakening of a first love excel 
En los Guindos; the boy has climbed a cherry tree and 
as he tosses the fruit into the outspread skirt of his girl 
companion, his heart fills with emotion as he glimpses 
her charms. 

It is easy to understand why Guido y Spano should 
have been selected by Oyuela and Obligado to decide 
their literary joust. With Oyuela he had in common a 
reverence for form, and with Obligado a love for the 
tender and sentimental. But their verses began to seem 
trivial to the public beside the grandiloquent outbursts 
of a poet who is generally regarded as Argentina's greatest 
y poet, Olegario Victor Andrade (1838-83). 

Before the juegos florales of 1880 he was scarcely heard 
of because he was on the wrong side in politics. He was 
one of the boys whom General Urquiza had ordered to 
be sent to school and to the university. He repaid his 
patron by dedicating to him a poem. Mi Patriae which 
won a prize in the school contest in 1856. But he lost 
favor the same year by marrying at the age of eighteen. 
He supported himself by writing for provincial papers. 
In i860 he became private secretary to President Derqui, 
but as his government was soon overthrown, Andrade 
had no resource but to continue to write in the provinces. 
Though he once succeeded in securing a place in Buenos 
Aires, he lost it by espousing the cause of Urquiza against 
Sarmiento. In the following administration of Avel- 
laneda he held a position in the custom house at Con- 


cordia, but was accused of negligence in administration, 
a charge from which he was later acquitted. With the 
advent of General Roca to the presidency in 1880, the 
provinces acquired a larger share in the government. 
Roca placed Andrade in charge of La Trihuna as chief 
editor of this government organ. And after his death, 
in 1883, President Roca assisted Andrade*s widow by 
buying from her for the National Library the manuscripts 
of all his poems for sixteen thousand pesos, and by print- 
ing at national expense a fine edition of his poems. More- 
over, President Roca paid Andrade the personal compli- 
ment of delivering an oration at his funeral. 

Andrade*s poems are characterized by a declamatory 
eloquence on patriotic topics and an exaggerated Amer- 
icanism. They are didactic on the theory that the poet 
has a mission to preach to the multitude. Having been 
written within the space of five years when the man 
was about forty years old, they display a certain unity 
of conception which, despite their diversity of title, gives 
them additional force. 

The first of this series of mature poems is El Nido de 
Condor es, dated 1877. A condor's nest situated on a 
gloomy and precipitous clifF above a defile in the Andes, 
surrounded by a white band of snow, amid perpetual 
silence, has attracted the poet's attention. Musing he 
recollects the stirring events of which the nest of the 
condor witnessed in part at least, San Martin's passage 
of the mountains, the battles of Maipii, of Chacabuco, 
the disaster of Cancha Rayada. 

The next poems are more personal, to General Lavalle, 
to San Martin, El Arpa Perdida, an elegy on the poet 


Luca, singer of Argentine triumphs in revolutionary 
days, who was drowned in a shipwreck in 1824. Heroism, 
American heroism is ever his theme as in the ode, Pay- 
sanduy to the memory of the victorious Uruguayans. 

In Atldntiday which won him a prize in the juegos 
florales of 1881, Andrade advanced to a more abstract 
and prophetic tone. This poem, dedicated to the future 
of the Latin race in America, begins with a summary 
of the history of that race. Rome, Spain, France, have 
each in its turn risen to leadership and fallen to decay. 
But in America are republics, the poet characterizes each 
in memorable lines, republics where life beats high and 
liberty will come to full fruition. 

The poet's mission as a teacher and prophet is exalted 
in a Canto a Victor Hugo. To Andrade, the French poet 
seems greater than any of his predecessors, who have 
tried to uplift humanity, excelling Isaiah, Juvenal or 
Dante. He possesses the peculiar qualities which marked 
each of them. And he lives in France, "height where 
nests human genius." But in America, "new theater 
which God destines for the drama of the future, free 
races admire thee, Orpheus, who went down in search of 
thy beloved, sacred democracy. And across the seas, O 
setting star, the sons of the dawn salute thee." 

Hugo replied to this effusion by nothing more than a 
few courteous words of thanks; whereby it was "ill paid," 
in the opinion of Menendez y Pelayo. But Valera is 
uncertain whether Hugo was vexed at being called old 
and a setting star or whether the French poet was ignorant 
of Castilian and failed to understand the poem. 

In Prometeo, the most transcendental of his poems. 


Andrade wrote the spiritual history of the man of genius, 
of the thinker who strives for the good of the human race. 
We have perhaps an echo of Andrade's personal misfor- 
tunes. The setting of the poem is the same as in the trag- 
edy by ^schylus. The Titan lies chained to the rocks, 
hurling his defiance at Jupiter and is pitied by the Ocean- 
ids. Aside from the words which the poet puts in the 
Titan's mouth, Andrade's innovation in the legend con- 
sists in the term which he puts to the suffering. When 
the Titan views the cross of Christ on Golgotha, he feels 
that he may die because another martyr is about to win 
the fight for the liberty of human thought and human 

The Spanish critics are somewhat captious of Andrade's 
merits because his Americanism is distateful to them. 
To Valera the poet's expression "Latin race" is especially 
distressing. He thinks, however, that Andrade, given 
a better and wider education, might have excelled both 
Bello and Olmedo as he is superior in inspiration. What 
the Argentines think of Andrade has been well said thus: 
"He is the true national poet of the Argentines, because 
he reflects in his beautiful songs the aspirations of that 
young and lively democracy which frets itself in supreme 
longings for liberty, progress, and civilization, while it 
is the melting pot for the diverse elements of the Latin 
races from which will spring a new American type, des- 
tined to preside over an important evolution of the 
human species in the new world." ^ 

Soon after Andrade was laid in his tomb, it witnessed 
a strange ceremony. A paralytic whose lower limbs had 

* M. Garcia Merou, Recuerdos Literarios. 


been useless for ten years, was brought there for the pur- 
pose of paying honor to a fellow poet by laying on the 
tomb a wreath which he, Gervasio Mendez (1849-98), had 
won in a poetic contest. For many years Mendez was a 
pathetic figure in Argentine letters. The poems sent 
forth from his couch of suffering rang with no feigned 
note of melancholy. Wh^ he besought, in Los Ndufragos 
del Mundo the pity of the world upon the failures, or 
urged in Amor Celeste the joy of religious consolation, 
there sprang to mind the poet's own story. Friends by 
printing editions of his poems and assisting their sale 
helped to keep him in the public mind. Leopoldo Diaz 
in a sonnet compared him to the bound and helpless 
Mazeppa. In a measure Mendez was a precursor of the 
youthful poets whose pseudo-melancholy began in the 
late seventies to be the fashion. His first volume of 
verses, printed in 1876, was greeted by the veteran critic 
J. M. Gutierrez with the enthusiastic cry that a real poet 
had appeared in Argentina. 

The early eighties witnessed in Buenos Aires a peculiar 
recrudescence of French romanticism of the type of Alfred 
de Musset. The youths who prided themselves on writing 
verses like the master sought also to imitate him in 
manner of life. They organized a society, the "Circulo 
Cientifico Literario," to foster the production of poetry 
by listening to each other's lines. Translations of their 
favorites, such as Gautier's Albertus, De Musset's Rolla 
were interspersed with recitations in the original of the 
most risque passages of the same poets. Making Murger 
their model the young Bohemians indulged in much 
horseplay not always devoid of Bacchanalian excesses. 


The verses of some of these young men are interesting 
to read. Julio E. Mitre, president of the circle, imitating 
the elegies of Gautier sang that love was the sweetest of 
goods and the cruelest of ills. Adolfo Mitre (1859-84), 
took immense pains with the form of his verses melancholy 
in tone on gloomy topics. Alberto Navarro Viola (1856- 
85), possessed a wider literally and moral horizon in 
his poems on Giordano Bruno, Voltaire, and Moreau, 
though a series of twenty-five poems on the death of his 
mother, the memory of her kisses and his doubts after 
her death, gave forth the truest note. He also published 
an annual bibliography of literary works printed in 
Buenos Aires, which is now of real value to the student. 
To Luis S. Ocampo was due the introduction of orgiastic 
lines in the manner of Espronceda. Domingo Martinto 
strove for Parnassian elegance and succeeded so well that 
some of his poems might easily be taken for translations 
from the French. 

Equally as careful in expression was Martin Garcia 
Merou (b. 1862). His literary activities were many 
and various, including attempts at the Zolaistic novel 
in Ley Social, For a time he mystified his companions by 
publishing sane criticisms on their mad verses. To him 
we are indebted for an amusing and instructive account 
of the movement in his Recuerdos Literarios. Long con- 
nected with the diplomatic service of Argentina his 
graphic pen described the life of those countries in which 
he resided. More than fifteen volumes of verses, tales, 
and criticism bear his name. Another poet who began to 
write with these young men (his ode El Descubrimiento 
de America won a prize in 1882), but who lived longer 


than they and continued to write for twenty-five years 
was Enrique E. Rivarola. Among his later productions 
were realistic prose tales of life in Argentina. 

All this poetic activity of the early eighties in Buenos 
Aires created an atmosphere favorable to the new ideas 
in literature, which were to spread from that center through 
the Spanish-American world till they affected even Span- 
ish poets. The "modernista" movement, though origin- 
ating in part with others, dates from 1888 with the pub- 
lication of Azul by Ruben Dario. It is significant of 
the cosmopolitan character of the movement that its 
leader was a native of Nicaragua, who had come to Buenos 
Aires by way of the west coast of South America. On 
account of the world-wide influence of Ruben Dario and 
the modernista school they must be studied apart from 
the local poetry of Argentina.^ 

Lesser or younger followers of the movement than the 
galaxy of the great, those whose reputations have been 
mainly local, are Emilio Berisso, Eugenio Diaz Romero, Al- 
berto Ghiraldo and Ricardo Rojas. Enrique Banchs, since 
1907, has been perhaps the most prolific. In the monthly 
review Nosotros, now representing the best literary pro- 
duction of Argentina, find their opportunity for literary 
endeavor such writers as Juan Mas y Pi, Manuel Galvez, 
and Alvaro Melian Lafinur. 

Though fiction as a kind of literature in Argentina began 
with MarmoFs Amaliay other novels made their appear- 
ance after the fall of Rosas. In the periodical El Plata 
cientifico y literario, founded in 1854 by Miguel Navarro 
Viola, a leading attraction was the historical novel La 
1 See Chapter XIV. 


Novia del Hereje o la Inquisicibn de Lima, by Vicente 
Fidel Lopez. The author attempted to depict society 
in Lima about the year 1578, when Peru was startled by 
the appearance ofF its coasts of the English admiral 
Francis Drake on his famous cruise in the Pacific ocean. 

V. F. Lopez, during his studies for his Historia Argentinay 
found material for another story entitled La Loca de la 
Guardia. Such was the name given to a crack-brained 
woman living near the passes of the Andes, who used to 
give information to the patriots of the movements of the 
Spanish armies. As her mental condition was said to be 
due to abuse from Spanish soldiers, Lopez made a story 
out of the mystery of her life. 

The periodical La Revista de Buenos Aires established in 
^863 to which Lopez contributed historical articles and 
J. M. Gutierrez literary criticisms tried to encourage the 
production of fiction. The editors promoted an edition, 
sold by subscription, of the stories of Juana Manuela 
Gorriti de Belzu.^ Though she had removed from Ar- 
gentina in her childhood and spent her life in Bolivia and 
Lima, where she was a prominent figure in literary circles, 
the people of Buenos Aires were proud to claim her as a 
countrywoman. The sale in 1865 of the collection of her 
stories, Sueiios y Realidades, was very successful. Ten 
years later visiting her native country she was received 
with a royal welcome, and another collection of her tales. 
Panoramas de la Fida, was brought out. 

Another female writer of fiction to whom Gutierrez 
called the attention of the public was Eduarda Mansilla de 
Garcia who printed her work under the name of "Daniel." 
^ See page 257. 


She published in i860 El Medico de San Luisy a valuable 
picture of contemporary social conditions. The protag- 
onist was an English doctor who had married in Ar- 
gentina. The childish character of his wife is contrasted 
with that of his sister Jane, a practical woman to whose 
sternly Protestant mind the weaknesses of her foreign 
and Catholic sister-in-law, as well as the kind of educa- 
tion being given to her twin nieces is abhorrent. By this 
means the author made public her ideas on the education 
and social position of girls. Eduarda Mansilla wrote other 
novels, one of which, Lucia Miranda, dealt with the 
fortunes of that colonial heroine so attractive to Argentine 
novelists and dramatists since Labarden's play Siripo. 

Romantic fiction gave way to realism about 1880. 
Eduardo Gutierrez* tales of criminal gauchos mark a 
transition to the novels which were inspired by the appear- 
ance of Zola's works. For their novels his imitators found 
ample material in the cosmopolitan city Buenos Aires. 
On the one hand the influence on character and family life 
of the sudden acquisition of wealth afforded opportunity 
for naturalistic studies, and on the other the clash between 
the foreign immigrants and the native population pre- 
sented dramatic contrasts. 

Eugenio Cambaceres was one of the first to write in the 
naturalistic manner. His Silbidos de un Fago, 1882, was 
little more than sketches of life in the city and on the 
estancias. That and his next book Musica Sentimental 
were greeted by adverse criticism because the freedom 
with which the relations between the sexes was treated 
shocked the public. When, however, in 1885 he published 
Sin Rumbo it had been educated sufficiently to appreciate 


the good points of the novel. This is the story of a man 
of the world who seeks in the country the restoration of 
his health undermined by dissipation. On the estancia he 
amuses himself by making love to a humble country girl. 
After a time he returns to the city. Once more tiring of 
fast living he goes back to the estancia where he finds that 
a son has been bom to him. Paternal love awakens and 
makes a better man of him. Unluckily his little Andres 
falls sick and dies whereat the father is so grieved that he 
commits suicide. The attraction of this novel lay in its 
detailed pictures of native life; a long journey on horse- 
back across the sunlit pampa, night on the farm, the 
raging storm that turned dry brooks into torrents, the 
pathetic death of little Andres. Moreover, the language 
of the characters, the jargon of the peasants and the slang 
of the city, with their familiar and picturesque expressions, 
added to the enthusiasm of the critics who hailed Cam- 
baceres as the founder of the national novel. 

His next. En la Sangre, 1887, developed the suggestion 
of the title by a study of the influence on national life of 
the admixture of ItaUan immigration. An Italian bom 
in Buenos Aires and educated in its streets succeeds in 
marrying a wealthy girl by first seducing her. The fortune 
thus gained is lost in speculation and there is nothing left 
for Maxima but ill treatment from her ugly-tempered 
husband. The novel had a tremendous success as a serial 
in the columns of a daily paper. 

Cambaceres, however, was not the first to study the 
foreign element in the metropolis. And in fact three 
novels which appeared in 1884 must have helped to pre- 
pare the public for his somewhat harsher naturalism. 


Inocentes culpahles by Antonio Argerich related the for- 
tunes of an Italian immigrant who rises from his beginning 
as a bootblack through various trades and marries above 
his station. The eldest son is a dissipated fellow who 
finally commits suicide, while the father is no better in his 
later years and ends in the asylum for the insane. La 
Gran Aide a by Lucio V. Lopez (1848-94), son of V. F. 
Lopez, depicted the whole life of the city, its politics, its 
morals, its social diversions. The youthful Blanca, 
married on account of her horror of poverty, to an old man, 
and Julio, for whom she has a guilty passion, are the prin- 
cipal characters. Sketched from life, the originals were 
known to the readers who took great delight in the per- 
sonal allusions, the racy dialogue and the epigrammatic 

The third novel of that year, Fruto Vedadoy also a study 
of political and social life in Buenos Aires, was by a French- 
man whose abilities have won for him a prominent place 
in the life of the city. 

Paul Groussac first drew public attention by this novel 
written more in the manner of Daudet than in that of 
Zola, though it is also the tale of a guilty love. But the 
hero Marcel is a hard worker whose passion for Andrea 
resembles more a blow of ill fortune than a bit of degen- 
eracy, and when Andrea's blind husband discovers their 
fault. Marcel departs to start life anew in Africa. Grous- 
sac after the publication of this novel devoted his time to 
the cultivation of more serious literature, essays, bibliog- 
raphy and history. In 1893 he visited Chicago to deliver 
before the World's Folklore Conference an address on the 
Argentine gaucho. This and other essays were published 



in a volume entitled El Viaje Intelectual. The description 
of his long journey by way of the west coast of South 
America and throughout the United States, Del Plata 
al Niagara, printed in 1897, is the most interesting book of 
travel from the South American point of view that I know. 
Seiior Groussac well deserved his appointment in 1885 as 
librarian of the National Argentine Library in Buenos 
Aires, a position which helpfully to students he still holds. 
The monthly La Biblioteca, which he edited for two years 
from 1896, contributed much to the diffusion of knowledge 
r r concerning early Argentine literature. 

The greatest Argentine novelist is Carlos Maria Ocantos, 
who may be correctly termed the Balzac of his native 
city. Following the latter's example he formed a bond of 
union between his many novels by making the principal 
characters members of the same family. By this device he 
could lay the scenes not only in the present day but in the 
past. For example, Don PerfectOy published in 1902, 
written in the form of an autobiography of an old man, 
gives many pictures of life in Buenos Aires as far back 
as 1855. Ocantos* first novel, Leon Saldivar, printed in 
Madrid in 1888 when the author was secretary there of the 
Argentine legation, was greeted with applause. The 
critic Ernesto Quesada, an Argentine essayist of power, 
said that the novel realized in prose Echeverria's famous 
dictum regarding the field of Argentine poetry. 

Leon Saldivar is a rich young man who leads the ordi- 
nary life of elegant society in Buenos Aires. He courts 
Lucia Guerra, whose father is a wealthy cattle raiser, 
living six months of the year on his estancia and spending 
the rest of the time in the fashionable life of the city. 


The family's manners thus stand In ridiculous contrast | 
with the refinement of their associates. The mother 
allows her ambitions to sacrifice her daughter to the wiles 
of a fortune-hunting Frenchman, who celebrates his 
marriage with Lucia by getting drunk at their wedding. 
A few months later the police appear at their house, guided 
by the man's wife from France. It seems he is an escaped 
convict whose deserted wife revenges herself by getting 
him sent back to prison. Lucia's wedding had so affected 
Leon that he fell sick with brain fever. When he recovers 
he determines to seek restoration of his health by a trip 
to Europe. Meeting Lucia accidentally he is about to 
refer to her misfortunes when she tells him that she is 
going to sail to Europe to join her husband called there 
because his aged mother was dying. Such indiflPerence 
and levity of mind in Lucia puts an end to Leon's infatua- 
tion. When he reaches home he discovers that he is 
really in love with Cruzita, an orphan girl whom his 
mother had brought up. To marry her he postpones 
indefinitely his European trip. 

The interesting pictures of native life, the carnival, 
parties, dances, the fashionable Progreso club, the summer 
sports, the wedding, are drawn from reality with a master 
hand. Ocantos applied his descriptive talent to the com- 
position of a series of novels which now numbers a long 
list of titles. They treat the many phases of life in the 
Argentine metropolis. The important one of immigration, 
especially of Italians, receives due consideration, notably 
in one of the latest novels El Peligro, 191 1. 

The peculiarities of society in Buenos Aires from the fem- 
inine standpoint found an excellent interpretation in Stella, 


published anonymously in 1905 by "Cesar Duayen," who 
afterward proved to be a well-known lady, Emma de 
la Barra. The keenness of observation displayed in this 
book, the accuracy of its details of wealthy families, and 
its pathos awakened a justly merited interest. While 
the story does not deal specifically with the question of 
the mingling of races in Argentina, the fact that its heroine, 
Alejandra Fussier, is the daughter of a Norwegian scientist 
who had married into a prominent family touches the 
problem. The child of the south had been unable to with- 
stand the climate of the cold north and had died leaving 
two daughters. The novel opens with the arrival at her 
rich uncle's house of Alejandra bearing her little sister 
Stella, whose lower limbs are paralyzed. Her father had 
never returned from a scientific expedition to the Arctic. 
According to his instructions in that event she had come 
to Buenos Aires. Having inherited her father's talent, 
being well educated and showing in her disposition the 
northern strain in her blood, Alejandra proved very at- 
tractive to the men of the household, especially to Maximo, 
the bachelor brother of her uncle's wife, because she was 
such a contrast to the native women. Moreover, her 
womanly qualities in caring devotedly for the crippled 
Stella irresistibly drew the man of the world to her side. 
Maximo began to devote almost as much attention to 
Stella as Alejandra herself. Consequently when the poor 
child died, it was easy for Alejandra to accept Maximo's 
offer of marriage. 

Conditions on the estancias and in the country villages 
have also formed the subject of numerous sketches and 
tales. Their realistic details lend them both attraction 


and power, though the author's choice of episode is often 
gruesome and sometimes revolting. Roberto J. Payro, 
Martiniano P. Leguizambn, Manuel Ugarte, Godofredo 
Daireaux, and Carlos Octavio Bunge have practiced with 
success this type of literature. Bunge and Ugarte have 
also attracted attention as essayists on matters of literature 
and public affairs. 

The latest novels to win praise are La Gloria de Don 
Ramirez y 191 1, by Enrique Rodriguez Larreta, which in 
most excellent style reconstructs a historical epoch of 
the Middle Ages in Spain ; and La Novela de Torquato 
Mendez by Martin Aldeo, 191 2. The latter is another 
study of wealthy society in Buenos Aires, and is specially 
recommended to those who wish to obtain a conception 
of the great cosmopolitan metropolis of the southern 



In studying the literary productions of the Republica 
Oriental de Uruguay it is well to bear in mind the adjec- 
tive in the official name of this country. It remains from 
the local term of Banda Oriental applied to the region 
before its establishment as an independent republic. 
After the struggle with Spain the emperor of Brazil laid 
claim to the country, but the political question was settled 
at the battle of Ituzaingo, where troops from Buenos 
Aires assisted. The capital, Montevideo, situated on the 
* eastern side of the estuary of La Plata is a sister city to 
the capital of the Argentine Republic. Their intellectual 
life has been similar and their literary productions have 
appeared in the journals of either city according as polit- 
ical exigencies have dictated the residence of the author. 
Again their material wealth is based on the same indus- 
tries, cattle and grain, so that conditions of life are much 
the same. 

The patriarch of letters in Uruguay was Francisco 
Acufia de Figueroa (i 790-1 862). He was a monarchist, 
educated by the Jesuits, and his earliest verses were 
satires against the colonists who were fighting for in- 
dependence. When they were successful he had to take 
refuge in Brazil. Later he was permitted to return. How 
well he became reconciled, is evident from the truly pa- 



triotic inspiration of the national hymn of which he is 
the author. His popularity as a literary man brought 
him such positions as treasurer general, director of the 
national library, and censor of theaters. 

His verses, composed in the classic forms, sonnets, 
letrillas, odes, canciones, and decimas, fill twelve volumes 
in the collected edition of 1846, so arranged according 
to the explanation of the author, as to afford the reader 
an agreeable variety of matter. There is a little of all 
sorts, political, religious, praise of the bull-fight, con- 
gratulations on family events or election to office, epi- 
grams on current gags, anecdotes or scandals. In explain- 
ing the liking of the Uruguayans for the poet, F. Bauza ^ 
says: — "There is something local, characteristic, and pecul- 
iarly ours in his style, in his turns of expression, in all he has 
produced. On his pages may be observed the reflection 
of what is most habitual with us and what we like best.*' 

It was natural that Acuiia de Figueroa should be an 
opponent of the romantic school. So when the Argentine 
leaders of that school, Echeverria, Mitre, F. Varela, Rivera 
Indarte, Marmol, were refugees in Montevideo about 
1844, he turned his sharp wit upon them. He satirized 
their peculiarities in a mock epic, entitled La Mdam- 
brunada, divided in three cantos. It relates the war 
which some old women begin in envy upon the young 
women. The first canto describes the congress of witches 
presided over by Satan before whom Malambrunada 
argues her case seeking their assistance. In the second 
canto the old women assemble under different standards. 
Falcomba strives to obtain the chief command. Voted 
1 F. Bauza, Estudios Liter arios. 


down she opposes the plan to march at night and surprise 
the young. The question being referred to a council of 
thirty they approve the plan. The scene of the third 
canto shifts to the young women. Venus has resolved 
that they shall not be surprised. So she urges them to 
choose a leader and prepare their forces. They elect 
Violante to whom is given as a badge of authority a crown 
of laurel interspersed with rubies. When Cupid sees her, 
he cries out that she is more bewitching than Psyche. 
Accordingly the old women fail in surprising the young 
and when the armies meet in a plain, Venus guides Vio- 
lante and her escort to the place where Malambrunada 
has taken her stand. The old leader is beaten and killed. 
The rest of the old women flee into a swamp where Satan 
hides them by turning them into croaking frogs. In this 
satire on the quarrel between the classicists and the 
romanticists, the poet, to be sure, gives the victory to the 
latter, but he makes their exaggerations and mannerisms 
ridiculous by imitating their style and fantastic episodes. 

While humor and Andalusian salt may predominate 
in the verses of Acuna de Figueroa, it would be wrong to 
suppose that he was incapable of a more elevated strain. 
Few poems have been written more heart-stirring than 
La Madre africana whose purpose was to put an end to 
the African slave trade, at least that part of it which was 
carried on in the ship Aguila flying the flag of Uruguay. 
Very nobly and simply expressed are the feelings of the 
woman who sees herself robbed of husband and children. 
Very scornful are the words of the poet referring to the 
"bravos who proclaim liberty and make slaves." 

In spite of ridicule the young men in Montevideo fol- 


lowed the romantic order. The first in point of time was 
X Adolfo Berro (i 8 19-41). The amount and quality of 
his work is all the more remarkable on account of the 
shortness of his life. His sympathies are with the fallen 
and the downcast, the grief-stricken of all kinds. And 
true to the example of his master, Echeverria, he sought 
also to exploit the poetic in native life, as in the ballad of 
Yandubayu and Liropeya. The young Indian and the 
Spaniard Carvallo are wrestling in sport. When the 
maiden Liropeya reminds her lover that he must that 
day fight for her possession with certain of her suitors, 
he desists from the sport. The Spaniard then treacher- 
ously kills him in order to make love to the maid. She 
indignantly rejects his advances, then suddenly consents 
to follow him if he will dig a grave for Yandubayu. While 
the Spaniard is digging, she gets possession of his sword. 
After he has finished his task and come for her, she kills 
herself, bidding him to open another grave. 
^ The same legend was used by Pedro P. Bermudez 
(1816-60) who turned it into a lyric drama. El CharruUy 
in five acts and in verse which was produced with very 
great success in Montevideo. The title was derived from 
the name of the tribe of aborigines found by the Spaniards 
at their arrival in Uruguay. Some of their peculiar qual- 
ties, stubborn courage, taciturnity, and reserve, they 
bequeathed with the strain of their blood to the present 
inhabitants of that region. Hence the poetic appeal met 
with a certain atavistic response in the hearers of the 
drama. The action, laid in 1573, is slight, so that the pro- 
duction might better be termed a dramatic poem. The 
youth Abayuba adores the maid Lirompeya. Her father, 


Zapican, is willing to grant him her hand as soon as the 
lad has driven the Spaniards from the country. He calls 
together the chiefs who decide on war. Act three is de- 
voted to the farewells of the lovers. In act four the 
Spanish captain Carvallo challenges Abayuba, but by 
guile he gets him as well as the maid Lirompeya into his 
power. The latter resists the captain's advances even 
though he announces to her the torture of her lover in 
prison. In act five Lirompeya succeeds in getting hold 
of Carvallo's dagger. Abayuba breaks from his prison 
and finds his beloved. After a love scene, she strikes 
herself with the dagger and hands it to the young man 
who follows her example by killing himself. 

In lyric poetry the most successful romantic was Juan y 
Carlos Gomez (1820-84). There is a personal note in 
his lines undoubtedly derived from the vicissitudes of 
his life. One feels that he is sincere when he sings his 
homesickness or rails at the evil of the world. He was 
by profession a lawyer, but during his many proscriptions 
from his native country he earned his living by journalis- 
tic work. He was one of the group who carried the roman- 
tic movement to Chile and was employed as a writer for 
the Mercurio of Santiago from 1845 to 1852. When he 
returned to his home he engaged in politics only to be 
obliged shortly to flee to Buenos Aires. There he became 
one of the leading journalists possessed of a trenchant, 
epigrammatic style quite in contrast with the vague, 
mournful tone of his verses. But he was not beloved in 
Montevideo, because he long waged a press campaign 
in favor of annexing the Band a Oriental to the Argentine 


In spite of his sufferings at the hands of political tyrants, 
Gomez did not break forth in vituperation like Marmol, 
but expressed his emotions in poetical metaphor. La Nuhe 
is an example of this. In this poem he inquires of the 
cloud: — "Why weep upon the earth that does not deserve 
it.? Its perfumes serve only to cover its evil.** In many 
poems he finds comparisons between his personality and 
the sea, the sea that he had crossed so often, as a fugitive. 
He put himself also in a legend in six cantos dealing with 
an old man, Figueredo, who hates to see Uruguay under 
the domination of Brazilians. To the accompaniment 
of his guitar he sings to stir up his sons to a desire for 
emancipation. Finally he throws away the instrument, 
urging them to fight. Unfortunately in the first encounter 
through the fall of his horse the old man is taken prisoner 
and his sons are unable to rescue him. When he is lib- 
erated and permitted to return to his country, in a long 
apostrophe he refuses to do so because it is under the 
domination of Brazil. 

Of the same period as Gomez but with decided class- 
ical leanings were Bernardo Prudencia Berro (1803-68), 
at one time president of the republic who met his death 
leading a revolution; Enrique de Arrascaeta a correct but 
cold rhymster; and Francis X. de Acha (1828-88). 

While the Argentines were pouring out their diatribes 
against the tyrant Rosas, the Uruguayans found material 
for the drama in his rule. Francis X. de Acha wrote in 
verse Una Victima de Rosas, then La Fusion, produced 
in 1 85 1, the story of two friends separated by the civil 
war. Acha was a journalist and editor of El Molinillo, a 
satirical sheet. To this and to other papers he contrib- 


uted many verses of a romantic type protesting against 
the civil war and various social evils. The furt-loving 
strain of his nature led him also to write comedies. Bromas 
caseras depicts in three acts the torments suffered by the 
husband of a jealous wife. In 1877 was represented his 
romantic drama, Como empieza acaha. Federico tricks 
Magdalena, the daughter of his partner, into marriage 
during the absence of her lover Carlos, who had been sent 
to Havana on business. Carlos, on his return, is found 
making love to the lady by her husband. They fight 
and Federico dies. But Magdalena refuses to marry, 
preferring the convent. 

Another drama concerning Rosas, Camila O'Cormatiy 
was written by Heraclio C. Fajardo (1833-67) and pro- 
duced in 1856, with great success. This dealt with a 
particularly notorious act, the execution of a priest named 
Gutierrez and a woman, Camila O'Gorman. In the play 
a platonic affection is shown to exist between Camila 
and the priest who is her piano teacher. A mutual friend, 
Lazaro, is arrested as a conspirator against Rosas. To 
save their friend's life by pleading with the tyrant, they 
go together to his house. Rosas is smitten with violent 
desire at the sight of Camila's beauty. During a momen- 
tary absence of the former, the friends refer their case to 
Manuelita, Rosas' angelic daughter. She promises to save 
Lazaro but warns that only flight can save Camila's virtue 
from the base purposes of her father. Act four discloses 
Gutierrez, Lazaro, and Camila free but in the act of 
conspiring against Rosas. A certain Ganon who is him- 
self in love with Camila leads the police to their resort. 
All escape the raid except Camila, but she is rescued later 


by her friends. The love between Gutierrez and Camila 
ceases to be platonlc. Gandn betrays their whereabouts 
to the police. Arrested, they are shot according to the 
orders of Rosas in spite of the pleadings of Manuelita. 

Cursing Rosas in imitation of Marmol was also a poetic 
diversion of Fajardo, but he did not do it quite so well as 
his master. In other ways he won a reputation as a poet. 
He won the gold medal in the certamen of 1858 by an ode 
on America y Colon, Two years later he published a long 
poem occupying over a hundred printed pages, La Cruz de 
Azabache and in 1862 a volume of collected verse, Arenas 
del Uruguay, The long poem treats the love affairs of a 
poet, Helio by name. After a series of women. Ana, Maria, 
Yola who deceives him, he meets Vitalia. The last he is 
obliged to leave in order to take part in the war. As a 
remembrance he takes with him a "cross of jet." Little 
results from his participation in the war though he is 
constantly dreaming of Vitalia. In the meantime, Yola 
writes a lying letter to Vitalia saying all manner of evil 
about Helio, among other things that he had left her. The 
poem concludes with the death of Vitalia distressed by 
the vision of a battle field on which vultures devour the 
corpse of Helio. 

The greatest figure in Uruguayan letters is undoubtedly 
Alejandro Magarifios Cervantes (1825-93). At the age 
of twenty he was connected with the legation in Brazil. 
A year later he started for Europe. While still a student 
in Madrid he published his first novel, La Estrella del Sur^ 
which he had written in part during his voyage from 
America. This was followed by two plays, Percances 
matrimoniales and Amor y P atria. In 1852 he gave to the 


world his poetic legend Cellar to which he owed his great- 
est fame. On somewhat similar lines was written in prose 
Caramuru, his best novel. In 1855 he returned to Uruguay 
where during the remainder of his life he enjoyed various 
public offices among which were those of rector of the 
university and senator. The volumes of collected verse, 
Brisas del Plata, 1864, and P almas y OmbueSy 1884, 
were distinguished by their intense patriotism and local 

The scene of Celiar is laid on a ranch belonging to Don 
Diego Sandoval, father of a pretty daughter. The social 
conditions are those of the eighteenth century. Don Juan 
de Altamira is the commander and tyrant of the town 
near the ranch. He makes love to Isabel, but her head 
and heart have no place for him, because the handsome 
and dashing gaucho, Celiar, fills them. She even snubs 
the proud Spaniard, who then pretends to give her up 
to his rival. Three days before their projected wedding 
there is brought to Celiar a letter asking him to come to 
the bedside of a dying uncle who had been a father to 
him in his childhood. Celiar sets out by moonlight, but 
well on the way his party is surprised by "Indians," 
of whom Don Juan is the leader. Don Juan stabs Celiar 
three times. Nobody dares denounce this act because 
the Spaniard is the legal representative of the king of 
Spain. He himself, however, is somewhat uneasy because 
Celiar's corpse disappeared. Another victim of Altamira 
is then introduced to the reader, a maid, Emilia. When 
she dies in child-birth her betrothed promises to avenge 
her wrongs on the Spaniard. So he flees to the Charruas, 
who at the moment are ravaging the white settlements 


under a mysterious cacique Toluba. He is really Celiar. 
The band descends upon the village where Don Juan com- 
mands and Celiar kills him. But Celiar and Isabel, who 
are both injured, die in each other's arms. 

Celiar is a novel in verse, written for the public in Ma- 
drid. Consequently the poet was obliged to make ex- 
planations of conditions, which mars the flow of his nar- 
rative. In Caramuru, however, prose allows the author 
greater liberty of expression. 

Caramuru is a gaucho, who has carried off Lia, the 
daughter of a city lawyer, to save her from marrying a 
man whom she dislikes. Moreover, he had saved her 
life from a wild beast so that she has fallen in love with 
him, but he maintains her in platonic affection, in a 
covert in the woods. After her flight with him, Caramuru 
enters a drinking place where other gauchos are discussing 
the mysterious event. One of them remarks significantly 
that he knows the abductor and the whereabouts of the 
young woman. Caramuru fights with him and kills him. 
When the other gauchos pursue the assassin through the 
night, he eludes them by dropping off his horse, which 
goes racing on, leading the pursuers far astray. Under 
the name of Amaro our gaucho enters the service of a rich 
Brazilian. In time he asks his employer to loan him a 
large sum of money. The Brazilian promises him a large 
reward, if Amaro will obtain a horse that can win a cer- 
tain race. Now Amaro is aware that an Indian cacique 
possesses an exceedingly swift horse, so he proceeds to 
his camp. By a little trickery, by frightening the Indians 
by big medicine, he succeeds in getting away with the 
horse. When the day of the race is at hand the Indian 


horse Dayman has for its only serious competitor, a noble 
animal, Atahualpa. The description of the horse race 
forms one of the most spirited passages in the book. 
Atahualpa exerts himself to the utmost, even bursting 
a blood vessel and falling close to the goal. As Amaro 
races by on Dayman, he is recognized by a soldier as the 
fugitive Caramuru. The latter is warned in time and 
again escapes by means of the speedy Indian horse. Soon 
after he learns that his hidden damsel is the daughter of 
Don Carlos Niger to whom he owes his life. Consequently, 
he brings her back to her father. This gives rise to a 
fight between Don Alvaro de Itapeby, to whom Lia was 
engaged, and Caramuru. They meet in single combat 
at the battle of Ituzaingo where Caramuru gives his 
adversary a mortal wound. As Don Alvaro lies dying in 
Caramuru's presence he discovers that the latter is his 
half brother, an illegitimate son of his own father. With 
his dying words he blesses the love of Caramuru for Lia. 

Criticism has been hiade that this love affair during 
its existence in the forest was too platonic for reality. 
However that may be, Magarinos Cervantes has succeeded 
in presenting an excellent picture of gaucho life and its 
ideals, love making, drinking, fighting and horse racing. 
No other man so completely dominates and incarnates 
the spirit of Uruguayan literature between 1840 and 1879. 
Therefore his admirers taking their cue from the identity 
of name are fond of referring to the author as the "Cer- 
vantes criollo." 

In 1865 there was published in Montevideo La Revista 
literaria in which appeared the verses of Melchor Pacheco 
y Obes and Laurindo Lapuente. The former were given 


to the world by his widow. Their tone was melancholy 
and sentimental and are well exemplified by the poem 
A una Cruz en medio del Campo which Magarinos Cer- 
vantes included in his excellent Album de Poesias urugu- 
ayas. It is like life this lonely cross and grave, according 
to the poet. 

In contrast to Pacheco, Lapuente forgets himself in 
an exalted praise of liberty and America, and his heroes 
San Martin and Bolivar. In ringing verse he put such 
sentiments as this: — "Land of hope was America for the 
human race. In her heart God put a treasure more pre- 
cious than the metal of her mines, which Spain filched 
from her — liberty." 

These two poets terminate the first period of romantic 
poetry in Uruguay. After them the intensely personal note 
is greatly modified, for their successors in the next decade 
believed that poetry had a mission to put religion and 
philosophy within the reach of the people. Moreover, 
the younger generation were solicitous of form. 

Of poets who came into notice during the seventies 
there are deserving of mention Washington P. Bermudez, 
born in 1847, the son of Pedro P. Bermudez, Victoriano E. 
Montes, Joaquin de Salterain, a well-known physician, 
and Antonio Lussich. The last was only one of a number 
of minor writers cherishing the tradition of the gaucho 
verse. As an exponent of gaucho literature Orosman 
Moratorio (1852-98) distinguished himself in numerous 
ephemeral dramas. The most attractive at this distance 
of the poets in the above group is Montes. His Tejedora 
de nandutiy the country lass who rejects the city wooer, 
touches the heart just as El Tamhor de San Martin, the 



old soldier who recollects the glories of the war for in- 
dependence, arouses enthusiasm. 

Washington P. Bermudez first attracted attention by 
reciting a heroic ode of his own composition, Gloria a los 
BravoSy referring to the successful defenders of Paysandu 
in the war with Brazil. But he could also write witty 
and satirical lines as shown by his compositions in the 
political journal. El Negro Timoteo. His greatest literary 
fame, however, like that of his father, rests upon a histori- 
cal drama, Artigas. As a patriotic appeal to the Uru- 
guayans this career of their national hero presented in 
four acts and many scenes with a final hymn to the na- 
tional colors was a triumph. Though Bermudez wrote 
other plays none met with like success. 

Another dramatist dealing with the period of revolution 
was Estenilaso Perez Nieto in Apariencias y Realidades, 
The patriotic sentiments in his drama are, however, 
incidental to the main action. This is laid in the camp of 
the famous "Thirty-three," that devoted band under the 
leadership of Lavalleja who demanded from Brazil in 
1825 either liberty or death, and won the former. In 
the play the villain Carlos in order to ruin his rival Alberto 
brings the Portuguese into the camp in such wise as 
to throw suspicion on him. At the same time Carlos has 
secreted in Alberto's tent a young girl whom he himself 
had seduced and then brings upon the scene Elena, Al- 
berto's fiancee. But both the Portuguese and the young 
girl accuse Carlos so that Alberto is cleared of the suspicion 
of treachery and reunited to his fiancee. This play greatly 
pleased the public of 1877. 

The notion that poetry had a definite idealistic mission 



had its stronghold in the society known as the "Ateneo 
del Uruguay." In its public meetings the veteran poet 
Arrascaeta announced the holy liberty of humanity; 
Luis Melian Lafinur cursed tyrants; and Jose G. Del 
Busto in his odes A Grecia, A Polonia, El Ideal, hurled 
Tyrtaean strophes at a people crushed under a despotic 
dictator. His epic romance El Ultimo de los Treinta y 
Tresy a cry of indignation at the neglect of the last 
of these heroes dying in poverty, received great ap- 
plause. Del Busto is the interpreter of the ideas and 
conscience of his country just before the revolution of 

During this same period romanticism in Uruguay re- 
ceived an original bent from a poet who stands alone in 
X his class and manner. Juan Zorrilla de San Martin, 
bom in Montevideo in 1857, was sent to study in the 
University of Santiago de Chile. He returned home in 
1877 with a printed volume of verses bearing the title of 
Notas de un Himno whose themes were mainly faith and 
love. He then began work on the masterpiece of Uru- 
guayan literature, the long poem Tabare, which he read 
in sections to the public as fast as it was written. When 
finally published it was composed of six cantos and 
more than forty-five hundred lines. At such length the 
poet recited the tragic love of Tabare, the half breed 
Charrua Indian, whose Spanish mother had taught him 
to kiss the cross. The soft blue eyes of the mother, now 
dead, who used to sing to him, haunted his memory. So 
when brought a prisoner to the stockade of the whites he 
fell violently in love with Blanca, the sister of the Spanish 
commander, Don Gonzalo. After a while the love-sick 


Indian is allowed to depart to his tribe. He arrives to 
find that the tribesmen are celebrating the funeral dance 
of their deceased cacique. A certain Yamandu persuades 
them to elect him their chief and then to celebrate his 
election by beginning an attack upon the settlement of 
the whites. Yamandu is the villain in the tragedy. He 
also has seen Blanca and to carry her ofF is for him a prime 
reason for the raid. The savages are successful. From 
the burning houses of the Spanish village Yamandu bears 
Blanca into the recesses of the forest. When Don Gonzalo 
discovers the disappearance of his sister, instantly attribut- 
ing the raid to Tabare, he organizes a posse in pursuit. 
In the meantime Yamandu waits beside the unconscious 
body of Blanca for her to recover from her swoon. Just 
as she opens her eyes she becomes aware of the struggling 
forms of two fighting men. Tabare had followed Yamandu 
and there kills him. Tabare then carries Blanca toward the 
settlement. Don Gonzalo meets them. Rushing at the 
Indian, in ignorance of the truth the Spaniard plunges 
his sword into Tabare's heart. The poor savage is only 
too happy to die as Blanca weeps over him and embraces 
him. In the closing words of the poem: "The Indian is \y 
silent forever, like his race, like the desert, a tongueless 
mouth, a heavenless eternity." 

Comparison of Tabare with Longfellow's Hiawatha has 
occurred to many, but there is little similarity either in 
subject-matter or the spirit of the two poems. Critics 
almost scoffing at the possibility of so sentimental a savage 
have raised the question also of the likelihood of such 
a character as Tabare. But Valera concludes his remarks 
on the poem with an ingenious argument in favor of its 


probability, because he believes in the all-compelling 
power of love. 

The style in which the author has written is described 
by Valera^ thus. After stating that Zorrilla de San Martin 
belongs to the school of Becquer, he says: — "The new 
thing in Juan Zorrilla is that, although Tabare is a narra- 
tion, in part of it he narrates and almost does not narrate. 
The poem seems a beautiful series of lyrics in which the 
action gradually unfolds. When the personages speak, 
one remains in doubt whether it is they speaking or the 
poet in whose spirit are brightly reflected the feelings and 
ideas which the personages have in a vague manner." 

At the time when Zorrilla de San Martin was beginning 
his great poem Tabare, occurred the dedication of a 
monument to Uruguayan independence in the Plaza de 
la Florida. Zorrilla de San Martin was called upon to write 
a poem befitting the occasion. He read his ode La Leyenda 
P atria which won the greatest applause ever given to a 
similar bit of literature and which since that day has 
been declaimed till people are tired of it. Somewhat 
classical in form and slightly reminiscent of Olmedo, the 
ode develops the poet's ideas in pictures and visions of 
his country's history. He sees the country prostrate 
under the invader, the heroism of the Thirty-three, the 
great battles of Sarandi and Ituzaingo and the possibilities 
of the future. 

The publication of Tabare brought its author such fame 
that he was sent to Europe first as envoy to the Holy See 
and then as minister to France and Spain. He has pub- 
lished his impressions of travel in Resonancias del Camino. 
^ J. Valera, Cartas americanasy 2a serie. 


Lately he gave to the world a historical monograph, La 
Epopeya de Artigas, written in poetic style. 

After the passing of the romantic epoch the composi- 
tion of verse developed as elsewhere from Becquer to 
the decadent school. Luis Pineyro del Campo began pub- >C 
lishing verses as early as 1875, but his finest work ap- 
peared much later. El Ultimo Gaucho is a long poem 
descriptive of country life in which the contrast between 
the new conditions and the old is made artistically mani- , 
fest. The grandfather sits by as the cart is being loaded 
to depart for the day's work. He had been a soldier and 
taken part in the great events of the past. To see his 
grandsons engaging in such labor and enjoying the fruits 
of peace makes him weep. After the cart is gone he falls 
into a delirium in which he rehearses his deeds, and de- 
mands his horse and lance. As the locomotive on the 
railway whistles and rumbles by the old man dies, a 
symbol of the primitive life fast yielding before the prog- 
ress of civilization. 

Rafael Fragueiro at the time of the publication of his 
first volume of poems, Recuerdos Fiejos, 1887, posed as 
the poet of poets attempting to practice in life the exag- 
gerations and artificialities which he put into his verses. 
He was the first becquerista. After a romantic marriage 
he went to Buenos Aires, where he became a professor 
and forgot the production of verse for a time. When he 
began writing again it was in the prevailing decadent 

In Buenos Aires lives another poet and professor of 
Uruguayan birth, Victor Arreguine. He began rhyming 
in the becquerista manner, but his latest poems were in 



the style of Verlaine. The title of one of the best, La Vejez 
de Venus, is suggestive of its character, decadent, artificial, 
polished and beautiful. 

More national in character were the poems of San- 
tiago Maciel (bom 1867). His first volume. Auras prima- 
veraleSy 1884, contained a notable poem on the war be- 
tween Chile and Peru. In 1893, he published El Flor del 
Trebol, a long poem redolent of Uruguayan fields. The 
first canto describes the happiness of a country lass in 
love. She is rudely awakened from her dream by the 
call to arms which takes her lover away. The second 
canto recites various incidents that occurred during the 
days of his presence and whose recollection cheers her 
in his absence. The third canto opens with a message 
which she has received from her lover. He tells her that 
a severe fight is impending and that he expects to die. 
One afternoon as she is absorbed in melancholy revery, 
she catches sight of a horseman pursued by another. 
The foremost is her lover, overtaken by his pursuer and 
killed so that he falls at her feet. A poem so characteristic- 
ally national as this is pleasant reading. 

A prolific writer of verse in various manners is Carlos 
Roxlo. He is classed as an eclectic poet with reminis- 
cences of Becquer and Campoamor, of De Musset and the 
Mexican Flores. This is not surprising because he is a 
thorough student of literature, and in this respect has 
deserved the greatest praise from all those who love 
Uruguayan letters. His Historia critica de la Literatura 
uruguaya is a monumental work. 

The only other person who has treated the same sub- 
jects is Francisco Bauza whose essays Estudios Literarios, 


were really incidental to his main interest, the political 
history of Uruguay. He wrote also a few poems and was 
noted as an orator. 

The development of the novel in Uruguay owes some- 
thing to Carlos Maria Ramirez (?-i898), important in 
the history of his country as a lawyer, publicist, orator 
and politician. His Amores de Marta is a romantic story, 
while the unfinished tale Los Palmares is redolent of 
Uruguayan fields and perhaps set the example for later 
novelists who picked their themes from national events. 

Asociated with Ramirez, at least in exile, was the great- 
est of Uruguayan novelists, Eduardo Acevedo Diaz. 
Attacking the government in 1875 with trenchant pen 
for its attitude toward the freedom of the press, he was 
arrested and banished. In his place of refuge, Buenos 
Aires, he produced his first novel, Brenday which remained 
his own favorite and has a wider appeal than his more 
powerful nationalistic tales. The general plan of Brenda 
is romantic in type, but the story abounds in realistic 

The title is derived from the name of the heroine of the 
novel. She is the adopted daughter of the rich Seiiora 
de Nerva, who desires that Brenda should become the 
wife of her physician. Doctor Lastener de Selis. But 
Brenda is in love with Raul Henares. This gallant young 
man had saved the life of a certain Areba Linares who 
thereupon had fallen in love with her savior. Conse- 
quently she assists the Senora de Nerva in her efforts to 
marry Brenda to Doctor De Selis, by disclosing a fact of 
which she had been an eyewitness, namely, that Raul 
Henares was the unknown man who during the last civil 


war had killed the colonel Pedro Delfor, Brenda's father. 
Even this disclosure has Httle effect on Brenda's feelings 
either toward her lover or toward De Selis whom she 
hates because he had refused to attend professionally on 
her dying mother. In spite of the Sefiora de Nerva, the 
lovers continue to communicate through the negro gar- 
dener Zambique, whose faithfulness unto death forms 
one of the most pathetic and interesting episodes of the 
story. The great obstacle to the lovers* complete happi- 
ness is removed by the death of the doctor in a duel with 
a friend of Raul. Then Sefiora de Nerva dies of her 
chronic malady. And after a year of mourning, Brenda 
and Raul are married. 

Acevedo Diaz returned from exile in time to take part 
in the important affair in 1886, known as the revolution 
of Quebracho. The result being disastrous for his party 
he again took refuge in Buenos Aires. His experiences of 
campaigning as a rebel he applied in writing a series of 
semi-historical novels dealing with the adventures of a 
family during the wars for independence won at Sarandi, 
in 1825. The first of these, Ismael, was published in 1888, 
followed by Nativa and then by El Grito de Gloria, 

The shortest of these is Nativa which is little more than 
one episode taken from the series making up the whole 
story. Nata and Dora are sisters, girls from the city 
living on the estancia of the "Three Ombues." On this 
estate is a ruined house where Jose Maria Beron, a patriot 
officer wounded by the Portuguese, has taken refuge. 
Being young and a hero he is very interesting to the girls. 
He prefers Nata, which fact so oppresses Dora that she 
commits suicide by drowning herself in a pool. Shortly 


thereafter the Portuguese approach so that Nata is 
obHged to depart, leaving her wounded lover among the 
troops who occupy the estancia. This young officer is a 
leading character in El Grito de Gloria. He meets death 
heroically at the battle of Sarandi from where his corpse 
is carried to be interred beside Dora. 

The strength of this trilogy of novels consists not only 
in the vivid pictures of landscapes and manners, but also 
in the characterization, wherein the author approaches 
the contemporary naturalism of Carlos Reyles. In fact 
in discussing the trilogy one must consider the personages 
rather than the plots. Ismael is the personification of 
the gaucho of the period with his bravery, vices, crimes 
and prejudices as he contributed to the foundation of 
Uruguayan nationality. Cuaro, the Charrua Indian, is 
a type taken from nature. Another element of this varie- 
gated society is exemplified by the half-breed girl, Jacinta, 
who rides with the soldiers, furnishing them with female 
companionship, cooking their meals, fighting among them 
like a man, and dying a heroic death in protecting the 
body of Jose Maria after his fall. 

The significance of Ismael as a work of art is set forth 
by the eminent journalist Alberto Palomeque, an asso- 
ciate of Acevedo Diaz in his first exile. His publication 
of the review Vida Moderna was a real service to Urugua- 
yan letters. In the issue for May, 1901, he says: "Ismael 
is a hymn to blood. On every page is breathed hatred and 
blood. The author believes that in the shedding of blood 
is the law of all human progress. In this book is the ex- 
planation of all our misfortunes. A society founded in 
hatred, in slaughter, in blood, in violation of the family, 


in attacks on property, in terror imposed by a vulgar 
caudillo who is master of lives and estates, must continue 
to suffer." And in similar vein concerning Soledad, the 
last novel by Acevedo Diaz, he continues. "Soledad is 
the mistress of her father's murderer. Thus from an 
assassin springs the germ of native society. Soledad 
will have children by a bandit. On every side blood, 
crimes, seduction, children of assassins. Our nationality 
will have for basis crime, vagabondage and unstable abode, 
a sad heritage." 

When the naturalistic movement reached Uruguay, 
the example of Acevedo Diaz directed attention to the 
gaucho and country life in general as a source for novels 
and tales. Manuel Bernardez, born 1867, was one of the 
first to publish excellent realistic stories. Mateo Mar- 
gariiios Solsona wrote not only short stories but prac- 
ticed the novel. His Las Hermanas Flammary appearing 
in 1893 followed the methods of Zola almost to the point 
of direct imitation. Through the efforts of her mother, 
Elvira Flammary is married to Mauricio Castaigne, but 
her older sister is more attractive. Margarita's marriage, 
however, fails to materialize, so she casts envious eyes 
upon her sister's complaisant husband. Elvira's illness 
favors the denouement, and as the illness develops into a 
chronic malady after the mother's death, the household 
settles down into a three-cornered affair. Another practi- 
tioner of the realistic tale was Javier de Viana. His 
gauchos are degenerate sons and his women vile creatures. 

The master of these naturalists is undoubtedly Carlos 
Reyles. Living on a vast cattle ranch which he inherited, 
he found time not only to develop his property scientific- 


ally but also to imitate the literary methods of the French 
and Spanish novelists whom he admired. Beba, which 
he published in 1894, marked a new path in the literature 
of Uruguay. The action of the story begins at the Estancia 
of El Embrion. Its owner, Gustavo Ribera, is a reformer 
in the methods of agriculture. So many are his innova- 
tions, such as the substitution of iron plows for the old 
wooden ones, the use of horse rakes and tractor engines, 
scientific treatment of drying fodder, that his peons think 
him crazy. He is specially interested in classifying his 
cattle and in improving the breed. Growing up on the 
estate is his dead sister's child Beba. When she arrives 
at a marriageable age she marries Rafael Benavente, a 
broker in the city. Living there bores her as much as 
her husband's mode of life for he is indolent, without 
ambition, and given to drink and the pursuit of pleasure. 
By and by the couple visit the estancia. Rafael to cure 
his ennui keeps soaked with liquor, but Beba rejoices at 
every moment spent in the open. She passes her time 
with her uncle whose manly strength and skill she admires 
to the disadvantage of her husband. One day she falls 
in with an old woman who tells her the secret of her birth, 
a love child. The phrase works in her mind till in a mo- 
ment of mad adoration she gives herself to Gustavo. 
The weak husband merely cries when he hears the facts 
from his wife's mouth. The lovers continue on the farm 
for a time. One day Gustavo in Beba's presence angrily 
kills his best stallion on account of defects in his progeny. 
Soon thereafter Rafael and Beba return to the city. In 
course of time Beba has a child, but it is still bom and a 
monster. The crossing of blood relatives which Gustavo 


had studied so scientifically in his cattle asserts itself as 
a principle of human mating. Beba, remembering the 
scene with the stallion, feels that Gustavo will despise 
her. Consequently she winds a heavy work chain about 
her body and leaps into a deep pool of water. 

Reyles* next production consisted of three short stories 
on the theme of adultery. Of these Primitivo is the most 
striking in plot. In 1910 he published La Raza de Cain, 
While this novel mainly consists of a study of the base 
spirit of Cacio, the evil habits and manners of a certain 
class of wealthy society are cruelly bared to inspection. 
Cacio is a poor devil whom the rich Arturo Crooker met 
at Lollege. There he bullied him physically and domi- 
neered over him with his money. Their relations continue 
in business, and in society on the same footing. They 
fall in love with the same woman, Laura. Arturo wins 
her. Cacio is like Cain always beaten by Abel and he 
exclaims, "The happiness of others irritates me." One 
day he slips poison into a cup of milk given to Laura and 
stolidly watches her die. 

In the theater the naturalistic movement has been well 
represented by Samuel Blixen (i 869-1909) and Victor 
Perez Petit (bom 1871). Blixen's plays bear titles bor- 
rowed from the seasons, Primavera, Otono, and Invierno. 
That the names should suggest the development which 
takes place in the characters of the plays is plainly the 
author's intention. In Primavera, the widow Emilia, 
cold of heart, listens to the amorous solicitation of Bona- 
facio with increasing interest till she glows with passion. 
Otono was the most successful of the series. In this play 
Maximo, fifty years of age, attempts to win Celeste, a 


maid of forty of angelical character. She listens, hesitates, 
and finally consults her young nephew and niece to whom 
she is a foster mother. When the latter begs her not to go 
away, Celeste refuses the offer of marriage on the ground 
that, by accepting it, she would be a bad mother to the 
children whom she has cared for and taught to love her. 
This play pleased the same public which laughed at In- 
vierno. The principal character of the latter is an old 
man of eighty-four who wishes to marry his granddaughter 
to an individual whom she dislikes. He is brought to 
terms by his aged wife who makes plain to him that he 
has lost the fortune which made him proud. 

Victor Perez Petit has been a very industrious man 
of letters in several fields. He came into notice through 
his literary studies, one of Zola and others published in a 
volume entitled Los Modernistas, 1903, concerning such 
men as Verlaine, D'Annunzio, Strindberg, Nietzsche, and 
Tolstoi. Then he tried his hand at realistic tales of which 
Gil is the most important. It is the study of the reasser- 
tion of atavistic instincts in the son of a murderer and 
prostitute. This boy is picked up from the gutter and 
given a home by a wealthy man, but the depravity in his 
nature comes to the surface at the age of puberty when 
he attacks and kills his benefactor's young wife. In 1907, 
Perez Petit published a volume of sonnets, Joyeles Bar- 
baroSy written in apparent imitation of Leconte de LTsle. 
Throughout the decade he wrote plays from time to time 
of which he printed two volumes in 191 2. 

The plays show considerable variety in both theme and 
treatment. Cobarde, for example, is a drama of national 
manners. It concerns Pedro who loves Natividad, the 


daughter of Gil Grajales, a prosperous Spanish immigrant. 
He wishes his daughter to marry RampH, an Italian, be- 
cause, in his opinion, only foreigners in Uruguay are men 
in that country, where the natives are idle fellows given to 
boasting and singing to the accompaniment of the guitar. 
Just before a party Natividad makes Pedro swear that 
whatever happens he will not fight with her father. When 
Gil sees the despised Pedro dancing with his daughter, he 
interferes with a shower of insults. Pedro draws his 
dagger but Natividad calls on him to keep his oath. Like 
a coward he slinks away. His father Anastasio, however, 
takes up the quarrel and kills Gil. For a time the assassin 
eludes the police. When his whereabouts become known 
to them through the activity of Rampli, Pedro again 
appears on the scene. By fighting the police in a mad 
attempt to free his father, Pedro proves, even though he 
dies in vain, that he is no coward. 

In other plays Perez Petit makes adultery the pivot 
about which the action revolves. El Esclavo-Rey, called 
a comedy, depicts the degradation of a poor clerk who 
not only neglects his family but also steals for his mis- 
tress. Yorick, on the other hand, is a tragedy revealing 
the mental tortures of a pair of adulterers. Yorick is the 
young son of Adelina whose husband, a banker, had com- 
mitted suicide after his bankruptcy. She might have 
saved him the bankruptcy had she used her influence; 
but, knowing his intention to shoot himself, she preferred 
to let him die because she was infatuated with a certain 
Doctor Lazlo. Yorick is sent to Europe to complete his 
education. On his return he finds his mother living in 
Lazlo's house. At first Yorick is not suspicious and even 


makes love to Clara, the doctor's daughter. Objections 
to his love-making somehow excite his curiosity about his 
mother's position in that house. Though he questions 
her, he learns little till he surprises her and the doctor in 
a compromising situation. Then the truth flashes upon 
him. Yorick knows that his father's life might have been 
saved had Lazlo loaned him money. So Yorick deter- 
mines to revenge his father by taking advantage of Lazlo's 
great love for Clara. Unless the doctor will instantly go 
out and shoot himself, Yorick will reveal the whole dis- 
graceful story to the daughter. And she is coming to a 
conference directly. Lazlo leaves Yorick. Clara enters. 
While she is inquiring for her father, a pistol shot rings out. 
It is significant of the power and originality of Uru- 
guayan literature that it gave to the modernista move- 
ment not only dramatists like Perez Petit and a review so 
excellent as Vida Moderna, essentially national, however, 
in their meaning, but also that it produced a poet like 
Julio Herrera y Reissig and the critical essayist, Jose XX 
Enrique Rodo. The poet rose so far above his local sur- 
roundings that the value of his work was not fully appre- 
ciated until the modernista movement began to be studied 
as a whole. And Rodo is universally acknowledged by 
Spanish Americans as an intellectual leader. 



From the point of view of general education Chile, at 
the close of the revolution, was one of the most backward 
of the young American republics. The question of filling 
the need for education became a political dispute between 
the party of the oligarchs, supported by the clergy, and 
the liberals. The former composed largely of the adher- 
ents of a few wealthy families have up to the present given 
Chile a more stable government than that enjoyed by xhe 
other republics; but the liberals have from time to time 
been able to obtain many concessions. With their efforts 
at democratization the history of literature in Chile, no 
less than her political history, is concerned. 

In 1828, the liberals happening to be in power, they 
promulgated a new constitution. At this time there was in 
Chile a remarkable Spaniard, Jose Joaquin de Mora (1783- 
1864), whose adventurous life led him over South America, 
and whose Leyendas Espanolas later found an imitative 
echo in American literature. President Pinto is said to 
have taken his advice in preparing the liberal constitution. 
At any rate he encouraged Mora, made a citizen of the 
republic by special act of Congress, to attempt educational 
reform in Chile by opening a school known as the Liceo 
Nacional de Chile. Mora also defended the interests of 
the liberal party by editing El Mercurio chileno. He estab- 


CHILE 197 

lished a literary society, wrote poems and even produced 
a play, El Marido ambicioso, based on French models. 
But his ascendency was short lived, for in 1829 the con- 
servatives returned to power under the presidency of 
Joaquin Prieto and his prime minister, Diego Portales. 

By them Andres Bello was invited to Chile to serve as a 
counterweight to Mora. To Bello was entrusted the 
editorship of the government organ El Jraucano, which 
position Bello held for more than twenty years. In this 
journal he had ample opportunity to foster an improve- 
ment in the literary taste of the Chilean public. To 
Bello's training in education were entrusted the sons of the 
leading families. On the other hand, Mora's school was 
closed by governmental action and the man himself driven 
from Chile in 1831. 

Bello's school. El Colegio de Santiago, was held in his 
own house. He conducted his instruction by original 
methods, graphically described thus by one of the pupils:^ 
"The study of language was a complete course on philol- 
ogy, which comprised everything from general grammar 
and the history of the Castilian language down to the 
most minute questions of Castilian grammar. The pro- 
fessor followed his ancient custom of writing his texts as he 
taught them. His treatise on conjugation and the most 
interesting chapters of his Spanish grammar were dis- 
cussed in those long pleasant conferences with his pupils. 
He never explained, but conversed, beginning always by 
expounding a question in order to discourse on it to his 
pupils. In these conversations he was the one who talked, 
at the same time almost always smoking a Havana cigar. 
1 J. V. Lastarria, Recuerdos literarios. 


His lecture hall was his library and all his references to 
authors were made by the pupils under the direction of 
the master." 

In this manner were trained a body of young men who 
were ready in 1842 to defend their country in a literary 
controversy against the Argentine journalists who had 
taken refuge in Chile. Fleeing from the tyranny of Rosas, 
they had brought with them the spirit of the romantic 
movement in literature taught them by Esteban Eche- 
verria. And they did not hesitate to criticise adversely 
the state of Chilean literature. 

The first opportunity for this was offered by the publi- 
cation in 1 841 of Andres Bello's poem El Incendio de la 
Compania. Inspired by the destruction by fire of the 
principal church left by the Jesuits in Santiago, the poem 
was written in quintillas in the classical style and may be 
accounted one of the most interesting of Bello's minor 
productions. The poet as a spectator of the conflagration 
sees the famous clock in the belfry destroyed, and hears 
its farewell to the city to which "it has counted a whole 
century of time, hour by hour," amid the marvellous 
changes which have occurred during that era. The sight 
of the ruins causes him to express his melancholy regrets 
almost in the words of Jeremiah. 

'^ The Argentine D. F. Sarmiento in reviewing the poem 
propounded the question, "Why are there no poets in 
Chile?" He answered it in a second article when discuss- 
ing the foundation of a literary society in May, 1842, 
by a number of young Chileans, mainly pupils of Bello. 
Sarmiento said that the Chileans lacked poetry, "not 
through incapacity but on account of the bad tendency 

CHILE 199 

of their studies." Herein he referred to Bello's gram- 
matical teaching, for the latter had opposed a proposition 
of Sarmiento*s that orthography should conform to pro- 
nunciation, with the statement that young men should 
study good Castilian models, so that their language might 
not degenerate as among "another American people into 
a Spanish-Gallic dialect/* Sarmiento met this fling by 
declaring that "the Argentines had written more verses 
than the tears they had shed over the sad fate of their 
country." Moreover, "the influence of grammarians, 
respect for models, and fear of breaking rules" brought 
about a lack of spontaneity of ideas. 

The young Chileans rallied to the defense of Bello's 
methods by founding a periodical. El Semanario Literario, 
in which to print their polemics and their literary produc- 
tions. The most important contributors were Salvador 
Sanfuentes, Bello's sons Francisco and Carlos, and J. J. 
Vallejo. The topic of discussion was nominally roman- 
ticism. The Argentine V. F. Lopez published a long 
article about it and Andres Bello reviewed the romances 
of the Duque de Rivas. He also printed translations of 
two poems by Victor Hugo, entitled in Spanish J Olimpio 
and Las Fantasmas; the latter is the well-known poem 
beginning, "Helas! que j'en ai vu mourir de jeunes filles!" 
To Lopez* article Sanfuentes replied that romanticism 
was not well understood in Chile; besides it was going 
out of fashion in Europe. In its place he urged "faithful 
pictures of life." In illustration he began the publication 
of his long poem. El Campanario. 

In the theater, a translation of Hugo's Angela was pro- 
duced as an example of the romantic drama. Other 


translations followed. Then Carlos Bello (1815-54), 
wrote a piece in two acts, Los Amores del Poeta which 
was welcomed with great applause. A month later Rafael 
Minvielle (1800-87), P^t on the boards Ernesto, which 
was praised by Sarmiento as superior to the former. 
Minvielle also translated Hernani and Dumas' Antony. 
Juan Bello (1825-60), likewise made translations of ro- 
mantic dramas and attempted to rival Sanfuentes in a 
poetic legend, Elena y Eduardo, 

Satirical treatment of the controversy was undertaken 
by Jose Joaquin Vallejo (1809-58), who poked fun at 
romanticism by saying that "it was the cheapest thing 
that had come to Chile from Europe by way of the Rio 
de la Plata." And as original productions under the now 
famous pen name of "Jotabeche," he wrote sketches of 
manners and customs in the mining camps of Chile. These 
vivid pictures of the landscape and the miners, their 
dances and fights, the vivacious record of their conversa- 
tions and the satirical account of their superstitions form 
one of the classics of Chilean literature. 

In his story of the literary controversy J. V. Lastarria, 
in his Recuerdos Literarios, is inclined to deny Andres 
Bello's leadership, and attributes its origin and bitterness 
to the eflPorts of the young men to outshine the Argentines 
in the drawing rooms of Santiago by the declamation of 
original compositions in verse, and to the poetical con- 
test of 1842, promoted by the society of which he was 
president. La Sociedad Literaria. 

Whatever its origin the best fruit of the controversy 
was the establishment of the University of Chile, of which 
Andres Bello was installed as rector, September 17th, 1843. 


And a month later he brought to a climax his part in the 
controversy by publishing La Oracion por Todos. This 
poem is not a translation but an adaptation of Victor 
Hugo's La Priere pour tons; "strongly Castilian" ac- 
cording to Menendez y Pelayo, "in which Bello seizes 
the original thought and develops it in our language 
in conformity with our lyrical habits; and he accom- 
plishes this in such fashion that La Oracion por Todos 
is known by everybody in America and considered by 
many as Bello's best poem. There is no Spaniard 
who reads those melancholy and sobbing strophes and 
again looks at the French text without finding it very 
inferior." ^ 

To the setting of the poem, the landscape bathed in 
evening twilight, Bello added certain features essentially 
Spanish, the old tower, the isolated farmhouse and the 
church. On the moral side he urges a prayer for Spanish 
types of sinners. And while the French poem is not 
specific in its invocation for the dead, Bello pleads for 
"My Lola." Death being an ever present preoccupation 
of the Spanish mind, Bello widens the scope of the argu- 
ment for kind thoughts toward the dead in this wise: 
"I too at no distant day shall be a guest of the dark house 
and shall invoke the prayer of a pure soul." 

After Bello*s installation as rector of the University of 
Chile his poetical production was slight, a few transla- 
tions, fables and verses for ladies' albums. He was oc- 
cupied with his professional labors and the preparation 
of his scientific works which served as text-books. The 
names of a few suffice to show the wide variety of his 
learning: Teoria del Entendimiento, 1843; Proyecto del 


Codigo civil, 1843; Principios de Derecho internacionaly 
1844; Gramdtica de la Lengua castellana, 1847. 

As secretary of the University of Chile, was chosen 
Salvador Sanfuentes (1817-60), in some ways Bello's 
most distinguished pupil. At the age of sixteen he wrote 
an imitation in verse of Racine's Iphigenie, which Bello 
printed in the Araucano. In 1836 he became secretary 
to the Chilean legation in Peru, in 1843 general secretary 
to the University. From 1847 to 1851 he was a member 
of President Bulnes' cabinet, first as minister of justice 
and later of state. As a member of the House of Deputies 
he was considered brilliant, while he was also acknowledged 
to be an able practitioner of law. In 1853 he resigned his 
position as secretary of the University, but became its 
dean in 1856. Appointed a judge of the Supreme Court, 
1858, he held this position until his death. 

Throughout his political career, his interest in poetry 
never failed. His enemies could find nothing worse than 
to call him the author of El Campanario, which he wrote 
at the age of twenty-four, in order to demonstrate so 
valiantly to the carping Argentines that poets did exist 
in Chile. His purpose, moreover, was to prove the su- 
periority of real pictures of life over the fancies of roman- 
ticism. The poem is written in three cantos. The scene 
is laid in Santiago about the middle of the eighteenth 
century. A marquis proud of his nobility has two chil- 
dren, Cosme and Leonor. To this family is introduced 
by the president of Santiago, Don Antonio de Gonzaga, 
a young Captain Eulogio to whom he owes his life. But 
the latter, being of plebeian birth, is not favored by the 
parents of Leonor. As long as the president lives, Eulogio's 

CHILE 203 

suit for the young lady's hand prospers; but when Don 
Antonio suddenly dies, Captain Eulogio is turned away 
from the marquis' house. The young man, however, 
persuades Leonor to elope with him during the favorable 
opportunity presented by Holy Week. Their marriage 
is in progress in the chapel of a neighboring town when 
her father and his slaves appear and interrupt the cere- 
mony. Eulogio, unwilling to injure the father, does not 
defend himself from arrest. Loaded with chains he is 
tried for abduction and banished. That night, however, 
he escapes from prison. A few days later, a letter con- 
taining four letters traced in blood, of which only Leonor 
understands the meaning, is brought to her together with 
a portrait. She retires to a convent. One moonlight 
night the nuns are awakened by an unseasonable ringing 
of the bells. Ascending the belfry they find there hanged 
the hapless Leonor. The poem contains descriptions of 
ancient customs, especially of the royal court of justice, 
the celebrations of Holy Week, the ni^nery and the tak- 
ing of the vows by the novice. The episodes possess a 
real interest and the whole poem, written in a variety of 
meters, has a fresh and animated style. 

In 1850 Sanfuentes published as a collection in one 
volume, two other legends and his romantic drama, Juana 
de Ndpoles. The legend entitled El Bandido, opens with 
a scene on a mountain where a negro bandit, Fernando, a 
man who had sworn to avenge the wrongs of his race, is 
feasting with his followers. With him is Maria who had 
yielded to Fernando to save her father's life after she had 
been carried off from her village just as her wedding to 
Anselmo was being celebrated. As the feast progresses, 


the bandits perceive clouds of smoke arising from the 
forest, which warns them of the approach of a band of pur- 
suers led by Anselmo. When they come up, the latter fights 
with Fernando, but is severely wounded and defeated. 
Maria, however, persuades Fernando that Anselmo is 
her brother and so is allowed to nurse him back to health. 
She confesses to him her disgrace, whereat Anselmo 
scorns her. That night coming to him, with the statement 
that she has taken poison, she falls dying at his feet. 
Anselmo calls Fernando and they fight. Anselfho, how- 
ever, is again beaten and falls beside Maria's corpse whose 
hand he clasps in his last moments. Fernando, kicking 
their hands apart, leaves them, breaks camp and sur- 
renders to the authorities, who execute him. 

Superior to this poem is Inami 6 la Laguna de Ranco, 
Alberto has fled from the Chilean city of Valdivia because 
he has killed a superior in a duel. He escapes his pursuers 
by taking refuge on an island in the lake of Ranco. Falling 
in love with Inami, the beautiful daughter of the Indian 
cacique Colpi, he marries her and a son is born to them. 
One night Alberto saves from the waters of the lake an 
old man, Alejo, who proves to be his father, come in search 
of him. Alejo is angry when he learns that Alberto has 
married Inami and demands that he leave her and return 
to Valdivia. The young man refuses, but in his distress at 
being obliged to choose between his wife and his father, 
exhibits some coolness to the former. Their suspicions 
aroused, the Indians kill Alejo. Beside his corpse, Alberto 
finds a dagger which he recognizes to be Colpi's. The 
Indian when confronted admits his guilt; in the ensuing 
fight Alberto kills his father-in-law on the top of a cliff 


CHILE 205 

whence he throws the body into the lake. Alberto ob- 
tains a canoe in preparation for removing his father's 
body. As he is about to start, Inami, with her child, 
appears at the top of the clifF. Beckoning to her husband, 
she plunges into the water to swim toward the canoe. 
About to reach it, she strikes against Colpi's body. Then 
with a cry of horror, she places her child in the canoe, 
turns back to embrace her father's corpse and sinks with 
it to her own death. 

Sanfuentes admitted his indebtedness to that old epic 
of Chilean history, Ercilla's Araucania. He succeeded 
fairly well in making his Indians natural and in exhibiting 
their sentiments of hospitality toward strangers. Es- 
pecially interesting, however, is his description of the city 
of Valdivia. 

His drama, J nana de Ndpoles, derived its story from 
Sismondi. Roberto, king of Naples, had usurped the 
throne from his nephew, Carlos Huberto, king of Hungary. 
Roberto determines to bring about a reversion of the 
throne by arranging a marriage between Andres, the 
second son of Carlos, and his own daughter Juana, at the 
time seven and five years old respectively. Their parents 
dying when he is eighteen and she sixteen, the young 
couple are left to adjust their differences and difficulties 
according to their own notions. Juana, holding that a 
papal bull had legitimized the usurpation, wishes to in- 
herit her father's dominions while Andres asserts a supe- 
rior right. The dramatist complicated their quarrels by 
introducing a love affair between Juana and a certain 
Luis de Tarento and thus made more tragic Andres' 
death at the hands of conspirators. 


The poetic rendering of a legend again occupied San- 
fuentes* attention in 1853. He found the material in 
Olivares' Historia Militar. Huentemagu, an Araucanian 
Indian, received as his share of the sack of a nunnery a 
beautiful nun. With her he fell so much in love that she 
was able to persuade him not only to respect her but also 
to restore her to her fellow countrymen; whereupon he 
followed her and became a servant at the nunnery in 
order to be near the object of his adoration. 

Four years later from the same pen came Ricardo y 
Lucia 6 la Destruccibn de la Imperial, comprising 17,626 
hendecasyllabic verses in octaves. This is a tale of love 
between a Spaniard and an Indian maid, thwarted by 
the jealousy of a disappointed lover who assists a con- 
spiracy to raid the city of La Imperial. The actors all 
perish in the tumult of its destruction. Somewhat differ- 
ent in character is Sanfuentes' last work of which he pub- 
lished four parts before his death. Teudo 6 Memorias de 
un solitario purports to be the diary in verse of the impres- 
sions of a solitary monk. 

The poetic merit of Sanfuentes' compositions varies 
greatly. The later ones become monotonous from ex- 
cessive description. Though he lacks at times dramatic 
force and psychological truth, he never fails in a feeling 
for nature. He has written more verses than any other 
Chilean and though the first to sing the beauties of primi- 
tive nature in Chile, no other poet in this respect has 
equalled Sanfuentes. 

The poetic activity in Chile about 1842 was not entirely 
devoid of the classical note which sought perfection of 
form. Even in El Semanario were published poems of 



that type by Hermogenes de Irisarri, a Guatemalan, 
whose father, Antonio Jose de Irisarri, a very wealthy 
man, had played an important part in Spanish-American 
affairs during the revolutionary period. Another poet of 
classical leanings was Jacinto Chacon, who continued to 
an advanced age to occupy high positions in Chilean 
politics. As a leader the classical school may have looked 
to Felipe Pardo who came to Chile as Peruvian envoy in 

1836. A pupil of the celebrated Sevillan Alberto Lista 
and an enthusiastic man of letters, he wrote much and 
even published a periodical. El Interprete, during hisy 
sojourn in Chile. 

In some respects the most successful writer of occa- 
sional verse of classical type during this epoch was Dona 
Mercedes Marin de Solar (1804-66). Being a bright 
child she was given an excellent education, contrary to 
the prevailing notions about female education. She even 
knew French, which is remarkable for it is on record that 
in 1 82 1 a priest refused to absolve a young woman be- 
cause she was studying that language. Dona Mercedes 
came into public notice by her Canto a la Muerte de don 
Diego Portales, printed by Bello in the Jraucano, July, 

1837. This composition of three hundred and twenty- 
four lines was the work of a single night, and reflects as a 
historical document in verse the social conditions of the 
time. Her numerous pieces concern mainly events in 
family life bearing such titles as. To my daughter Luisa 
on the death of her husband; To my daughter Elena on 
her departure for North America; To my daughter Caro- 
line on going to live in the country. Recollecting in her 
dying hours that she had written no verses for her youngest 


daughter Matilda, she composed a sonnet remarkable 
under the circumstances for containing no hint of death 
or separation and speaking only of the joy with which 
the daughter had blessed her mother. 

Owing to the character of the race poetry has been 
more of a forced product in Chile than in some other 
Spanish-American countries, though versifiers have been 
numerous. The upper class of this race is composed of 
Spaniards largely of Basque origin, somber and practical, 
with an element of Anglo-Saxon merchants and sailors. 
The lower class differs from that of other South-American 
republics because their aboriginal ancestors, the Arau- 
canians, were not submissive but warlike and difficult 
to conquer. Furthermore there are no Africans nor 
Asiatics. The geography of the land also contributes 
to homogeneity of race. A narrow strip of coast walled on 
the east by a range of lofty and almost inaccessible moun- 
tains, the sea affords easy communication between its 
parts. Shipping, mining, and agriculture in the numerous 
valleys in a climate favorable to labor by white men thus 
become its natural industries. 

The same conditions explain the type of government 
projected by Diego Portales and adopted in the constitu- 
tion of 1833. This gave the balance of power to an oli- 
garchy of the landholders represented by senators whose 
term of office was nine years and a president elected for 
ten years. In the struggle which preceded the victory of 
the patrician conservatives, they were called "pelucones" 
by the liberals who in turn were dubbed "pipiolos." 
The strong rule of the "pelucones" preserved Chile from 
the anarchy which held back the progress of the other 


republics. But the descendants of the "pipiolos" kept 
alive and developed a liberalism, as the years passed, which 
found an expression not only in literature but also in 
arrned uprisings. 

The constitution of Portales made the church an in- 
stitution of state because the church stood for order 
and the defense of property; in return the church sup- 
ported the temporal power of the oligarchy. Against 
the union of church and state came the first attack of 
Hberalism, Francisco Bilbao's (1823-65), Sociahilidad chi- 
lena, a book of great literary and social importance in 
the history of Chile. It was first printed in the short- 
lived periodical El Crepusculo, 1844. The journal was 
suppressed and the author was prosecuted by the eccle- 
siastical authorities, who accused him of blasphemy, im- 
morality and sedition because Bilbao attributed the ex- 
tremely wretched condition of the working class in Chile 
to the domination of the clergy. The ecclesiastical tri- 
bunal found Bilbao guilty and sentenced him to pay a 
fine of fifteen hundred pesos or in default of its payment 
to serve six months in prison. His friends promptly 
subscribed the money and sufficient additional funds 
to allow him to leave the country. In Sociabilidad chilena 
a Chilean writer, Isidoro Errazuriz, sees the outcome of 
Andres Bello*s philosophical teaching, not in its substance 
but as a "wild plant" that grew in the intellectual ground 
prepared by his hand. 

Isidoro Errazuriz, by the way, was a clever journalist 
and a brilliant orator whose political activity extended 
from i860 to 1890. As a historian he published an im- 
portant sketch of the political parties in Chile from 1823 


to 1870 as an introduction to his extensive Historia de la 
Administracion Errdzuriz. 

Francisco Bilbao went by way of Buenos Aires to Paris 
where he made the acquaintance of Michelet and Edgar 
Quinet. The latter, after reading Bilbao's book con- 
gratulated him. Quinet, the philosopher of democracy, 
was then producing his own works against the influence 
of Catholicism in the modem world. When Bilbao re- 
turned to Chile, he established, on the basis of Quinet*s 
ideas, a liberal society with the name of La Sociedad de 
la Igualdad. To it were attracted many liberal thinkers. 

One of the most prominent was Eusebio Lillo (1826- 
1910). At the age of eighteen he attracted attention by 
winning a prize for verses on Jose M. Infante, a popular 
hero. Three years later he was honored by the adoption 
of a poem of his as the national anthem of Chile. The 
older one by De Vera was displaced because its virulent 
hostility to Spain seemed antiquated. In 1848 he was 
one of the founders of the Revista de Santiago^ a somewhat 
notable periodical for it united as collaborators under 
the leadership of J. V. Lastarria many important men 
of letters. To this magazine Lillo's first contribution 
was a legend. Loco de Amor, in two cantos. 

Lillo now became interested in politics, supporting the 
ideas of Francisco Bilbao by editing a journal. El Amiga 
del Pueblo. And as a rallying song for his party he wrote 
a Himno de la Igualdad. Words led to deeds in the liberal 
insurrection of 1851. Lillo took part in the fighting in 
the streets of Santiago. After this affair he was banished 
and took refuge in Peru. 

His experiences in that country Lillo incorporated in a 

CHILE 211 

long poem, Fragmentos de los Recuerdos de un ProscritOy 
generally considered his best poem on account of its inter- 
esting description of Lima. Lillo's verses give evidence 
of a delicate feeling for the softer moods of nature. He 
was fond of flowers and wrote so much about them that 
he was called the poet of the flowers. In a simple style 
which found imitators he sang the perfume of the mignon- 
ette and the pale and drooping calyx of the flowering 
rush. Even in the Himno Nacional he remembered the 
flowers of Chile and expressed the hope that the invader 
might never trample them down. 

On reaching middle life Lillo applied his poetic imagi- 
nation to the problems of speculative business. In Bolivia 
he embarked on various enterprises by supplying capital 
to miners. As a result he returned to his native Chile a 
wealthy man at the age of fifty-two. Once more in poli- 
tics he was elected alcalde of Santiago. Under President 
Balmaceda of liberal tendencies he held various high 
governmental oflftces. And when the latter committed 
suicide in 1891, Lillo was the executor of his will. 

A poet of a more purely romantic type than Lillo was 
Guillermo Blest Gana (i 829-1 904). His poems and 
sonnets say little of nature but treat intimately of his 
feelings. The romantic pose of his lines was not justified 
by the material circumstances of his life. Nevertheless 
he made Alfred de Musset his model. Not only did he 
translate the Nuit de mat but imitated it in twenty-three 
compositions which are grouped under the title of Noches 
de Luna in the edition of his Poesias, 1854. With the 
moon he converses about his love, her beauty and her 
deceitfulness. Being a good reader he became a parlor 


favorite with the ladies, who delighted to hear him read 
his verses. His later poems reflect with fascinating 
delicacy the spirit of Chilean home life. 

In 1857, on account of political troubles he had to seek 
asylum in Europe. On his return he became a professor 
of literature in the University of Chile; then he entered 
the diplomatic service of his country. While minister 
to Ecuador he had an opportunity to enact in real life 
something as dramatic as any of his poetic fancies. The 
poetess, Dona Dolores Veintemilla de Galindo, slandered 
unjustly in her wifely honor by a priest, committed 
suicide near her child's cradle. At her funeral, unattended 
by others because it was that of a self-murderer, Guil- 
lermo Blest Gana was the only mourner and he attended in 
full diplomatic dress. 

Beside the poems of personal character, Guillermo 
Blest Gana's literary productions include various poetic 
legends. El Bandido, Las dos Mujeres, La Flor de la Soledad; 
some tales in prose; and two historical dramas, Lorenzo 
Garcia and La Conjuracibn de Almagro. The magazine, 
La Revista del Pacifico, which he founded offered encourage- 
ment to many of the minor poets of the day. 

The following year, 1859, was marked by a revival of 
literary interest in Chile. This crystalized into the estab- 
lishment of a society. El Circulo de los Amigos de las 
Letras, which inaugurated a poetic contest destined to 
bring into notice a number of young men. This society 
and contest was promoted by Jose Victorino Lastarria 
(1817-88), the former president of the Sociedad Literaria 
in 1842. For his activities of this kind (he was also a prime 
mover in founding the Academia de Bellas Letras in 1873), 


CHILE 213 

and his many journalistic enterprises, he has been called 
the "father of literary development in Chile." The major 
part of his writings, such as the somewhat visionary Lee 
clones de Politica positiva, were political, but his sketches 
and tales, partly autobiographical of his political career, 
collected in the volume Antano y Hogano, form a classic 
of Chilean literature. No less valuable for literary history 
is his Recuerdos Liter arios. 

The general tone of the verses submitted for the con- 
test of 1859 was that of romantic melancholy such as G. 
Blest Gana had made popular. A protege of his, Martin 
Jose Lira (1833-67), gave it an original turn by drawing 
his inspiration from the contemplation of nature. His 
adaptation from Robert Bums, entitled A una Ave Heriduy 
in which the bird reproaches the man for killing it, and 
his translation of Longfellow's Psalm of Life are character- 
istic of Lira's own productions. 

The leading figure in poetic literature during the sixties 
was Guillermo Matta (born 1829). His first work, Cuentos 
en verso, printed in 1853, consisted of two long legends, 
Un Cuento endemoniado and La Mujer misteriosa, which 
smack strongly of his models Espronceda and Byron. 
They are love stories with digressions and apostrophes 
on whatever struck his fancy, Greece, Seville, Rome, Byron 
himself. Their open attack on the conventional religious 
ideas and prejudices shocked the Chilean public of the 
day; but his lightness of touch with a happy combination 
of jest and earnest made the poems attractive. 

His literary free-thinking had a logical consequence 
in his adherence to a political insurrection in 1857, on 
account of which he was obliged to betake himself to 


Europe. In Madrid he made use of the opportunity to 
print his writings in two volumes. The experiences of 
travel strengthened his philosophical ideas and on his 
return to Chile he expounded them with greater convic- 
tion. In an address on literature when installed as pro- 
fessor in the University of Chile, 1864, he touched on the 
marvels of steam railways and the electric telegraph and 
insisted that the new poetry must take into consideration 
such changes in the state of the world. 

The most copious of poets, his practice in this respect 
made Matta the leader of a new school which praised 
the love of science, adoration of justice, and respect for 
industr}^ The improvement shown in his own literary 
style gave evidence of his wide study of the leading French, 
English and German poets. In fact the German note is 
his special contribution to Chilean poetry. 

Guillermo Matta*s brothers, Francisco and Manuel 
Antonio, were journalistic champions of the same ad- 
vanced ideas. The latter won for himself an immense 
reputation in the Chilean congress. Guillermo supported 
a movement led by certain ladies for the better education 
of women. He even assisted Doiia Rosario Orrego de 
Uribe to publish a Revista literaria for the same purpose. 

Guillermo Matta's greatest popularity both at home 
and abroad was achieved in 1866. At that time Spain 
had seized the Chinchon islands oflp the coast of Peru and 
was at war with that country. At the same time she 
threatened an attack on Chile. Matta sent forth his 
verses calling on all America to rouse herself in common 
defense against the invader and they met a response in 
many lands. 

CHILE 215 

One of the most stirring poems evoked by this war was 
written by Dona Rosario Orrego de Uribe (1834-79), 
A la Republica peruana con motivo de la derrota de la Escua- 
dra espanola en Callao. The virile tones of this poem and 
of other patriotic utterances are remarkable. Her verses 
on mother love, on duty and to persons show the influence 
of Matta. She began writing for G. Blest Gana's Revista 
del Pacifico and in one of her early poems, A mi hijo Luis, 
made certain prophecies of his future character which 
proved true when second in command of the famous Chil- 
ean warship " Esmeralda." It was a strange coincidence 
that she died at about the very hour when he was dis- 
tinguishing himself for valor in battle. 

For correctness of expression and classicism of style 
Domingo Arteaga Alemparte (1835-80) held first place 
in this decade. His best remembered poems are a pair 
of sonnets. El Llanto and La Risa, in which he maintains 
the paradox "How often to cry is to be happy!" and an 
ode Los Andes del Genio. In the latter the poet ad- 
mires the Andes mountains as they rear their rugged 
outlines above the smiling valleys; but there is a more 
sublime cordillera, the genius of man. Like the rivers 
from the mountains its influence streams through hu- 

The brothers Domingo and Justo Arteaga Alemparte 
were constantly associated in journalistic enterprises. 
They contributed to the literary activity of 1859 by estab- 
lishing La Semana. Several years later they brought out 
El Charivari and La Linterna del Diahloy comic and satirical 
periodicals. These opened a new vein in Chilean journal- 
ism, for the serious and sober Chilean character has little 


liking for Andalusian salt so typical of Peru. Domingo 
Arteaga Alemparte also won fame as an orator. 

In jocose verse, burlesque fables and satire, Manuel 
Blanco Cuartin (1822-90) specially excelled, and his jour- 
nalistic work during a long period was graced by his 
humor. He wrote also two fantastic legends in verse, 
Blanca de Lerma and Mackandal. 

A companion in light satire was Adolfo Valderrama 
(bom 1834). But his writings were not limited to verse 
for he wrote amusing prose sketches afterwards collected 
in a volume entitled Despues de la Tarea. His serious work 
was that of a physician and professor of medicine in the 
University. And he performed a service to the history 
of Chilean letters by preparing a Bosquejo de la Poesia 
chilena, 1866. 

The martial lyrics of Guillermo Matta, to which refer- 
ence has been made, initiated a fashion of heroic verse 
which, assisted by historical events, remained in vogue 
about two decades. In dramatic productions a parallel 
movement occurred. Matta's friend and admirer, Luis 
Rodriguez Velasco (b. 1838), the politician Carlos Walker 
Martinez (i 842-1905), leader of the conservative party 
and diplomat, the talented Jose Antonio Soffia (1843-86), 
were the first to write in the heroic style. Then the war 
which Chile fought with Peru for the possession of the 
nitrate fields gave fresh impetus to the heroic, and brought 
into the field Victor Torres Area (1847-83), Ambrosio 
Montt (bom i860), and Carlos Lathrop (bom 1853). 

In the theater Jose Antonio Torres Arce (1828-64) 
produced in 1856 La Independencia de Chile, one of the 
best Chilean historical plays. Since the action concerned 

CHILE 217 

mainly the exploits of Manuel Rodriguez, a popular hero 
of the revolution, the lines were filled with tirades of 
exalted patriotism. The author wrote other plays and 
was a successful journalist. 

The revolutionary hero, Manuel Rodriguez, was again 
staged in 1865, shortly after a statue of him had been 
erected in Santiago. The author's, Carlos Walker Mar- 
tinez', patriotic tirades were enthusiastically received 
and especially the finale of his drama Manuel RodrigueZy 
which consisted of an apostrophe to the national flag. 
During the next six years. Walker Martinez wrote a series 
of Romances americanos based on colonial and revolu- 
tionary history. Though composed in rather a prosaic 
style they have been popular enough to call for a second 

On the other hand, Luis Rodriguez Velasco used for 
the material of his ballads the history of the day and 
followed closely the events of the Spanish-Peruvian war. 
Written at his post of observation in Peru the poems 
gave evidence of keenness of impression. His experiences 
also supplied him material for a legend in verse in six 
cantos, Amor en el Hospital. In 1869 he wrote a comedy 
of manners. For Amor y por Dinero, which his contem- 
poraries hailed as the best produced by a Chilean author. 
Ten years later when the war between Chile and Peru 
brought the victory of the Chilean warship Esmeralda 
over the Peruvian ironclad Huascar, Rodriguez Velasco 
again greeted his countrymen with a paean of victory. 

The daily occurrences of this war were celebrated in 
verse by Victor Torres Arce. He was known to Chileans 
for his sensual bohemian lyrics, some plays and a novel, 


Los A mores de un Pije, which scandalized the public of 
1872 by its narration of erotic adventures. 

But Juan Rafael Allende (i 850-1905), wrote with greater 
talent the same sort of verse chronicle of the war in his 
Poesias de " El Pequen" filled with patriotism, amusing 
for their witty sayings, and entertaining by reason of 
their pictures of camp life. By order of the secretary of 
war thousands of copies were distributed to the soldiers. 
At the same time Allende produced his patriotic plays 
Jose Romero and La Generala Buendia. The latter's ex- 
ploits were being narrated in fiction by the novelist Ramon 
Pacheco. Allende, during the decade of the eighties, was 
a fertile writer for the popular stage, depicting many na- 
tive types. Among his dramatic sketches were many 
bitter satires of the wealthy classes. 

The most gifted Chilean writer during the seventies, 
whose real poetic feeling and delicacy of expression place 
him in the front rank of Spanish-American poets, was 
Jose Antonio Soffia. Though his verses attracted atten- 
tion when he was but twenty years of age, his best work 
was produced after his appointment as ambassador to 
Colombia in 1874. The cultivated society of Bogota 
was very stimulating to his talents. There were written 
his poetical romance, Bolivar y San Martin, generally 
considered his best poem, and the twelve cantos of the 
epic Michimaloncoy awarded a gold medal at a literary 
contest held by the University of Chile, 1877. 

This poem, based on Ercilla and the early historians of 
Chile, related in a variety of meters the story of Michi- 
malonco, the first Araucanian cacique to rebel against 
Pedro de Valdivia. The trouble began when three Indian 

CHILE 219 

women murdered a Spaniard, Roque Sanchez. His be- 
loved, Ines de Suarez, led her countrymen to avenge his 
death. But the pleasing parts of the poem are the idyllic 
pictures of primitive life, the love of the Indian maid 
Guajilda for Michimalonco, her plaintive "yaravi" or 
love song, their marriage by Christian rites. 

Soffia's journey to Bogota by way of the river Mag- 
dalena supplied him with the theme and the setting for a 
pathetic tale in verse, Las dos Hermanas, about the 
daughters of a fisherman who was drowned in a vain at- 
tempt to save another man's life. In this as in all Soffia's 
poems, the description of nature is unexcelled. In Acon- 
cagua he sympathetically pictured the beauties of his 
native province. In Las dos Urnas he rendered a tradi- 
tion about the river Aconcagua and the city San Felipe. 
Though love of nature inspired so many of his lines, love 
for his wife and love of country, were also springs of his 
muse. His patriotic apostrophes to national heroes de- 
lighted his fellow Chileans. 

The eloquence of patriotism was a more specialized 
form of the grandiloquent verses on abstract themes 
which were in fashion about 1880. Ambrosio Montt y 
Montt, for example, who first wrote odes and sonnets to 
commemorate the naval victory at Iquique, and the valor 
of the Chilean commander Arturo Prat, easily shifted to 
compositions in praise of art and the mission of the poet. 

This fashion was an echo of the poetic activity in 
Buenos Aires in the late seventies. The later roman- 
ticists, following perhaps the example of Victor Hugo, 
had a theory that poetry should serve humanity by in- 
spiring it with lofty ideals. This school found its noblest 


exponent in the grandiloquence of the Argentine poet 
Andrade. In all Spanish America poets began inditing 
odes to Humanity, to Science, to Reason. 

In Chile, the first prize for the poetic contest of 1877 
was awarded Pablo Garriga (b. 1853) for an ode Al 
ProgresOy and again in 1878 for El Poeta. He was fre- 
quently applauded for his contributions to periodicals, 
for poems on such abstract topics and especially for an 
ode, A la Ciencia, 

Pedro Nolasco Prendez (b. 1853) openly acknowledged 
his debt to Andrade. But he gave a note of originality to 
his verses by the form in which they were conceived, 
calling them Silhuetas when he praised the heroes of duty. 
As Prendez was quite successful in catching Andrade's 
lofty tone and wrote mainly after the latter's death, his 
admirers pretended to see in him a reincarnation of the 
Argentine bard. 

Reactionary against the new philosophies, and a cham- 
pion of the old religious ideals, arose Francisco A. Concha 
Castillo (b. 1855). The virtues of the soul, of self-sacrifice, 
of faith, the discipline of pain, as celebrated in his Dolor 
Generator, were the sources of inspiration for his graceful 
and fluid verses. A fantasy, Apoteosis, written in 1878 
on the anniversary of the death of Cervantes, attracted 
wide notice outside of Chile. 

Metaphysical poetry gradually disappeared before the 
style of writing brought into vogue by the Spanish poet 
Becquer. In 1887 a wealthy Chilean, Federico Varela, 
announced a literary contest to cover a wide variety of 
topics, in both prose and verse. One prize was offered 
for the "best collection of poems of the suggestive or in- 

CHILE 221 

sinuating kind of which the Spanish poet Gustavo Becquer 
is the prototype." The jury finally divided the prize be- 
tween two collections which proved to have been written 
by Eduardo de la Barra (1839-1900). 

He was a veteran writer, for at the age of twenty he 
had won first prize in the famous literary contest of the 
Circulo de los Amigos de las Letras, in 1859, by an ode 
A la Independencia de America. Though he contributed 
verses to periodicals for a while thereafter, he stopped 
suddenly in order to devote his time to politics, and 
political writing such as that contained in his investiga- 
tion entitled Francisco Bilbao ante la Sacristia. 

The Varela poetic contest again drew his attention to 
the writing of verses, in which he proved himself superior 
not only in the Becquerist rima but also in the fable and 
in a discussion of the theory of Spanish prosody. In 1889 
he published his poems in two volumes, to which he gave 
the descriptive names Poesia Suhjectiva and Poesia Ob- 
jectiva. Beside the prize-winning verses they contained 
poems of passion, micro-poemas, and parodies of an early 
collection of poems by Ruben Dario, Las Rosas andinas. 
The micro-poema was so named by De la Barra from the 
fact that it told a tragic tale briefly, even in so few lines 
as a couplet. In the parodies of Reubn Dario to which 
De la Barra gave the title Ruben Rubi, he showed him- 
self a master of the jocose verse so rare in sober Chile. 
By this wide diversity of form, De la Barra has proved 
himself the most clever artificer of verse produced by 

The Becquerist rima was practiced by others than 
De la Barra, for example, his disciple Leonardo Eliz 


(b. 1861), whom he made the legatee of his manuscripts. 
In 1887 Eliz published an interesting book useful to the 
student of literature, Silhuetas liricas y hiogrdficas. In 
this he appreciated in sonnets many Chilean poets and 
added in prose a biographical note about each one. 

Of the same age was Narciso Tondreau (born 1861), 
whose Penumbras was published in 1887, through the gen- 
erosity of friends enthusiastic at the true feeling for nature 
displayed in his melodious though melancholy verses. The 
contents of the volume were well characterized in a prefa- 
tory poem by Rodriguez Velasco who urged the reader to 
enter these "shadows" without fear if he possessed a love 
of flowers, of leafy trees and the air of the woods. 

The literary revolution known as the modemista move- 
ment and dating from the publication in Buenos Aires in 
1888 of Ruben Dario's Azul soon found recruits among the 
young Chileans. Pedro Antonio Gonzalez* volume Ritmos 
and Gustavo Valledor Sanchez' Versos sencillos initiated 
the public into the new style. Francisco Contreras printed 
in blue ink his Esmaltines, dedicated to the Princess 
Zafirina and won notoriety by Rauly a long narrative poem 
in verses of twelve syllables, showing the influence of 
Baudelaire and the exaggerations of the symbolist school. 
Contreras later went to Paris and continuing to write was 
thus the only one of the early group to remain to the 
present day a producer of literature. Antonio Borquez 
Solar's Campo lirico offered flowers of poesy gathered 
"apart from the beaten path"; his companions esteemed 
most highly a joyous bacchanal song Jerez alegre and re- 
printed it in their journal Pluma i Ldpiz. 

When the Peruvian Jose Santos Chocano gave a new 

CHILE 223 

direction to the modernista movement hy his American 
poems he opened a path more congenial to the Chilean 
mind and conforming to the tradition of Chilean poetry. 
Consequently Chocano called Diego Duble Urrutia "the 
poet of Chile" when he read the latter's volume Del Mar a 
la Montana, containing verses descriptive of the forests 
and mines, and the native types of men and women and 
their customs. In the same spirit Manuel Magallanes 
Moure in Matices painted the splendor of the Chilean 
landscape. Samuel A. Lillo not only sang the beauties of 
nature in his Canciones de Arauco but also the wild life 
of the mountains, the Indians, the hunting of the puma 
and other animals; and in Chile herbico he evoked the 
historic past from the days of Michimalonco to the fight 
of the " Esmeralda." 

The illustrated weekly Pluma i Ldpizy founded in De- 
cember, 1900, is an interesting document for the study of 
the modernista development in Chile. The young men just 
mentioned who filled its pages with their prose and verse 
were determinedly enthusiastic in their love of art. To 
aid and abet them in their devotion they secured con- 
tributions from renowned modemistas of other countries 
such as Ruben Dario, Guillermo Valencia, and Fabio 

Other contributors and younger men were Miguel Luis 
Rocuant whose Brumas showed the influence of the 
Mexican Gutierrez Najera and a pantheistic turn of mind; 
the even more philosophical Federico Gonzalez who sang 
the struggle of the soul for the infinite. Victor Domingo 
Silva having lived among the poor in Buenos Aires wrote 
in a pessimistic strain about the outcasts of society in his 


volume of verses, Hacia did. But in a long poem", El 
Derrotero, he imitated Chocano. This poem narrates the 
efforts of a young man to get rich quickly in order to marry 
a wealthy girl. He attempts to find a mine of which an old 
Indian had told him the location, but he is lost on the 
pampa and dies miserably. 

A review of verse writing in Chile shows that from the 
time of Andres Bello and the introduction of romanticism 
it has closely followed the currents of European literature 
without producing more than a very few poets of first rank 
among its numerous versifiers. Poetry may safely be 
called a cultivated plant. On the other the genius of the 
Chilean character reveals itself spontaneously in prose 
forms of literature, especially historical writing and the 
kindred novel. 

The first novel published by a Chilean was El Inquisidor 
Mayor o Historia de unos Amores, brought out by Manuel 
Bilbao in Lima, 1852. It depicts society in that city 
during the eighteenth century. Perhaps the author had 
in mind his brother Francisco's recent persecution when 
he described the evil fortunes of a young Frenchman 
brought before the tribunal of the inquisition and con- 
demned for his opinions. The novel portrays the wealthy 
and pleasure-loving descendants of the conquistadores 
disturbed by the first stirrings of the ideas which were to 
have their outcome in the revolution. The impression 
produced on the public was so great that the book passed 
through several editions. This fortune did not fall to 
the author's later stories Las dos Hermanas and El Pirata 
del Guaymas. 

Alberto Blest Gana (bom 183 1), the next novelist in 

CHILE 225 

point of time, is the greatest of Chilean writers of fiction 
and in the opinion of Chileans the greatest of American 
novelists. He aspired to be the American Balzac. In a 
letter to Vicuna Mackenna, he wrote: "One day reading 
Balzac I made an auto de fe in my fireplace condemning 
to the flames my youthful rhymes. (He had published a 
few narrative poems.) I swore to be a novelist or abandon 
the field of literature. The secret of my persistence is that 
I write not from a desire for glory but from a necessity 
of soul." 

His first stories published in 1858 were Enganos y 
DesenganoSy El Primer Amor, La Fascinacibn and Juan 
de Aria which immediately attracted attention for the 
quality of keen observation which the author displayed. 
Moreover, they aroused such general interest that the 
University of Chile proposed in i860 for its annual literary 
contest, usually limited to serious historical or critical 
topics, "a novel in prose, historical or of manners, the 
theme of which should be purely Chilean." The prize was 
awarded to Blest Gana's La Aritmhica en el Amor. The 
title is descriptive of the morals of its chief character who 
uses any means to attain wealth and power. His selfish 
conduct is contrasted with the self-sacrifice of his be- 
trothed whom he abandons. Blest Gana's next novel, El 
Pago de las Deudas, entered still more deeply into criticism 
of contemporary society. And in Martin Rivas, published 
1862, he produced his masterpiece. 

The action of this novel takes place in Santiago about 
the year 1850. Martin Rivas is a young man from the 
country who is taken into the family of a very rich man, 
Damaso Encina, who acquired from Martin's father the 


mine which is the source of Encina's wealth. The novel 
is a satire on the manners of newly rich people and the 
vices of a lower class who ape the rich. In the Encina 
family are two children, a son Augustine, and a daughter 
Leonor. The son has just returned from Paris, wherefore 
he interlards his conversation with French words and 
fashions his conduct after a model learned in France. He 
has a love affair with Adelaide, a daughter of the lower 
classes. Her vicious and lazy brother, Amador, forces 
Augustine to marry her by coming with a priest and sur- 
prising him at night in her company. Martin saves 
Augustine from this disgrace by proving that the man who 
performed the marriage ceremony was not a priest but a 
disguised friend of Amador. Martin becoming interested 
in politics takes part in the uprising of 1 85 1 . He is arrested 
and condemned but escapes death because Adelaide's 
noble-minded sister, Edelmira, consents to marry a police 
official in order to save Martin's life. Martin and Leonor 
had been interested in each other from the first moment 
of their acquaintance but her pride had forbidden her from 
accepting his attentions. At last before Martin's clever- 
ness and ability her pride yields and they marry. 

The scenes and incidents of Martin Rivas, in spite of its 
man)^ pages, are so many and so varied "tHat^tlie^ory 
inoves^ rapidly. Th e type s oLchara cter, accord ing to the 
Chilean critics, are true to iife.: the rich parvenue who 
feeds her lapdog at table; the matron of lower class who 
is ambitious to marry her daughter to the scion of wealth; 
the worthless and dissipated Amador, a "siutico," as the 
Chileans name the type; the politicians, "real beings," says 
Barros Arana, "whom we all know." 

CHILE 227 

A different type formed the subject of El Ideal de un 
Calaverdy published 1863. Abelardo Mannquez is a mod- 
em son of a Spanish conquistador, a seeker after adventure 
either in love or war, handsome, brave, quarrelsome, 
ardent. His fate finally leads him into a conspiracy 
which ends in his execution by a shooting party. Just 
before the fatal discharge, he voices his ideal with the 
words: — "Adios, love! only ambition of my soul!" 

With this novel closed the first period of Blest Gana's 
activity. He was sent abroad in the diplomatic service 
of his country and lived almost continuously in Europe. 
After thirty years he again essayed the writing of novels. 
In 1897 he published a historical novel. Durante la Re- 
conquista. The title refers to the two years following the 
disaster of Rancagua, 18 14, when the Spanish army had 
temporarily suppressed the revolution and the forces of 
San Martin were drilling beyond the Andes for the ul- 
timate victory. The author portrays the many leaders in 
the guerilla warfare which filled these years and de- 
scribes the customs and social diversions of the epoch. 

In 1905 Blest Gana made a study of a South American 
family as a type of those who endeavor to use wealth as a 
means for breaking into aristocratic European society. 
Los Trasplantados is a severe satire of every member of 
the family Canalejas and their associates from their rage 
for spending money to their peculiar jargon, half French, 
half Spanish; from the married daughters' disgust at the 
grandmother, who clings to her mantilla at church to the 
exclusion from their society of other Americans except 
a rich bachelor uncle, whose worn and unfashionable 
clothes they tolerate, because they hope to inherit his 


property. The youngest child Mercedes is compelled 
to marry a Prince Roespinbruck, but she commits suicide 
on learning that her husband has taken along his mistress 
on the wedding journey. Even this tragedy fails to move 
the family from their frivolity. 

In 1 910 the octogenarian novelist put the scenes of 
his novel of that year, El Loco Estero, again in Chile. As 
in his first work his latest displays the same keenness of 
observation and vigor of characterization. 

The novels of Blest Gana's early period aroused a de- 
sire in Chile, for novel reading. The eflForts of the peri- 
odicals to satisfy it so stimulated original composition 
that mention can be made here only of the most important 
productions. Imitation of Blest Gana resulted in what 
may be termed his school; but his imitators, led on by the 
necessity of filling space in the daily paper, often spun 
out exaggerated and improbable adventures. The custom 
of selling novels in parts resulted in similar prolixity. 
While the study of contemporary life was frequently 
animated by a doctrinaire purpose, the search for sen- 
sation turned to notorious crimes or the horrors of the 
past. The model of the latter seemed to be the Spaniard 
Fernandez y Gonzalez. 

The most readable novelist among Blest Gana's im- 
mediate following was Martin Palma (1821-84). A trip 
to California at the time of the gold fever of 1849 gave 
him a wider outlook on life. After his return to Chile 
he edited a paper and wrote many tracts on social ques- 
tions, which gave him a reputation as a free thinker. 
In 1869 he published his first novel, Los Secretos del Pueblo, 
The success which greeted it, helped on by the hostility 

CHILE 229 

of a few, induced the author to extend the length of the 
novel to fifty parts, afterwards published as a whole in 
four volumes. The introduction frankly states: — "We 
have had in mind the improvement of the people. Our 
customs are examined attempting to improve them, our 
vices to correct them, our virtues to enhance them, at 
the same time tilting full against our prejudices, against 
our social and political errors, against our bad habits 
for the sake of exalting the dignity and independence of 

In spite of the doctrinairism there is little declamation, 
for the lesson is inculcated by striking pictures of vice 
and its evils. The plan of the novel resembles that of 
Martin Rivas. The adventures of two wealthy families 
are contrasted with those of an honest artisan. The 
wealthy hesitate at no crimes either to increase their 
riches or to procure their pleasure, while the poor perform 
the most extraordinary deeds of virtue or courage. The 
wealthy young libertine Guillermo pursues the sister of 
the carpenter Enrique Lopez to her ruin; in revenge her 
father and Enrique get bodily possession of Guillermo 
and brand him with a red hot iron on the shoulder. The 
rich Luisa falls in love with the sterling qualities of En- 
rique, but her family force her to marry Guillermo because 
he threatens to divulge his knowledge of the skeleton in 
the family closet. Guillermo finally dies in a drunken 
orgy when the vapor of the alcohol rising from the spilled 
brandy explodes, setting fire to the house. Luisa is thus 
free to marry Enrique. 

Palma later brought out a sequel to this story in La 
Felicidad del Matrimonioy 1870. His anti-clerical tend- 


encies were given full play in Los Misterios del Confesion- 
arioy 1874, of which an English translation was printed 
in London in three volumes under the title of Julia In- 
grand — A Tale of the Confessional. These two themes of 
Palma indicate the direction taken by a small army of 
novelists engendered by the success of his work. 

Of the novels professing a moral purpose Un Drama 
Intimo by Moises Vargas possesses a certain interest by 
reason of the portrait of its heroine, Eugenia, shamefully 
deceived by the libertine Alberto. He falls in love with 
Amelia Reynal and wishes to marry her, but her father 
learns from Eugenia's own lips the story of Alberto's 
villainy and repeats it to his daughter. New lovers 
appear on the scene, Eduardo for Amelia and Ricardo 
for Eugenia. Eugenia dies and Ricardo kills Alberto in a 
duel. The other couple marry and live happily. The 
local color of this novel places it relatively high in its 

Among the most successful of Palma's rivals was Liborio 
E. Brieba. The original note of his very voluminous 
work consisted in the setting of his novels. ... He 
selected the early history of the revolutionary period for 
his dramatic narratives. One of these, Los Talaveras: 
novela historica (1814.-1^), has been several times reprinted. 
The period is the same as that , chosen later by Blest 
Gana for his Durante la Reconquista. Brieba also essayed 
the fantastic tale as well as the exploitation of crime. 

In the latter he was excelled in the next decade by 
Francisco Ulloa whose Astucias de Pancho Falcato has 
passed through five editions in Chile besides the reprints 
made of it in Buenos Aires and Barcelona. It is merely 

CHILE 231 

one manifestation of the bandit literature common to 
all Spanish-American countries. 

The historical novel found many admirers and pro- 
ducers. Ramon Pacheco began to write in 1875, and 
brought out several novels before the Peruvian war. 
That opened a new field of which he took full advantage. 
The most important of his early work was El Subterrdneo 
de los Jesuitas, 1878, in two volumes of more than seven 
hundred pages each. The scandal implied by the title 
preserved enough interest in the story to warrant another 
edition in 1899. Of the novels dealing with the Peruvian 
war, La Chilena Martir exploits an episode which oc- 
curred just prior to hostilities while La Generala Buendia 
fills two volumes with her heroic and patriotic adventures. 

The masterpiece of Chilean historical fiction is undoubt- 
edly Pipiolos y Pelucones, by Daniel Barros Grez (born 
1839). This is a carefully planned reproduction in the 
manner of Walter Scott of the period of the supremacy of 
Portales and the struggles between the parties whose 
popular names furnish the title. The characters more- 
over are well developed and interesting. Barros Grez' 
next novel, El HuerfanOy published 1881, though a series 
of adventures in the style of Don Quixote, extended 
through six volumes, has been termed a "photograph of 
the Chilean people in their infancy.'* While the adoption 
of the picaresque form allowed the author to penetrate 
all classes of society and portray all kinds of character, 
his use of an antiquated language imitating Cervantes has 
not proved so pleasing. The main action of the novel 
concerns a young man of obscure birth but of brilliant 
talents, who, by overcoming a thousand difficulties, 


achieves a fine social position and finally marries a dis- 
tinguished lady. Marriage with her had been coveted 
by an old man, very influential because of his intimacy 
with Portales. The scoundrel being unable to win Julia 
by fair means hires some bandits to carry her off. The 
story of this attempt and its frustration by the astuteness 
of Julia's father forms one of the most dramatic episodes 
of the book. Imitation of Cervantes carried Barros Grez 
still farther. In his last very popular book he strung 
together a series of adventures in the city of Santiago as 
the observations of his dog, published 1898, with the 
title of Primeras aventuras del maravilloso perro Cuatro 
Remos en Santiago. Barros Grez' talents for observation 
and satire were also applied to the production of sketches 
for the popular stage and a historical play, El Tejedor 
La Batalla de Maipu. 

The application of naturalistic principles in novel 
writing, a more exact description of physical details and 
a more careful psychological analysis was first made in 
Chile by Vicente Grez (i 843-1 909). The same ability 
at characterization which he displayed in Emilia Reynalsy 
1883, and in La Dote de una Joven^ 1884, was shown in a 
superior degree in Marianita, 1885. This is a tragedy 
caused by the activity of match-making relatives. Mari- 
anita is a simple motherless country girl who lives with 
her father by the seashore. A handsome young naval 
officer, Camilo, on a vacation, falls in love with her but 
his relatives prevent his plans for marriage. Besides, 
an ambitious neighbor, Dona Carmela, desires that her 
son Sergio should marry Marianita. After an absence 
of two years, during which Camilo had both married and 

CHILE 233 

been left a widower, and Marianita had been betrothed 
to Sergio, Camilo returns to the village by the sea. The 
old love between him and Marianita revives and quickens 
into passion. After a time tiring of his relations with her, 
Camilo one night fails to keep an appointment, and when 
she seeks him out on the beach, searching for a pretext 
to break with her, he calls attention to her engagement 
ring. As proof of her attachment to Camilo, she promptly 
throws Sergio's ring into the sea. But even such devotion 
does not prevent Camilo from hearkening to his aunt's 
plans for a marriage between him and a rich heiress. When 
Camilo leaves the village, Marianita, filled with despair, 
attempts to drown herself but is saved by a fisherman. 
Her father in his perplexity at her conduct calls on Sergio 
for assistance. When Marianita witnesses the young 
man's real grief on learning her fault, she rushes from his 
presence crying that she is going in search of her engage^ 
ment ring. Though Sergio pursues her, he is able to bring 
back from the waves only her lifeless body. 

Grez* next novel, El Ideal de una Esposa, 1887, was 
greeted with enthusiasm in Chile by critics who believed 
that he had produced a work of art worthy of Zola. Faus- 
tina, wife of Enrique and mother of a sickly son, notices 
a certain neglect on the part of her husband. Moved by 
suspicion she hunts him down one night when he is spend- 
ing his time drinking with women of loose character. 
Thereafter she lives only for her son. Her love for him 
keeps her from falling into the snare laid for her by a 
doctor. When the son dies his parents are reconciled 
beside his dead body. 

Vicente Grez was not only a novelist but a literary 


worker in many fields. . As a journalist he contributed 
widely to the periodicals of his day. In this line he won 
fame as an art critic. His volume of Becquerist verses, 
Rdfagasy published in 1882, found favor with many. He 
essayed also the writing of popular history, and for an 
animated account of the famous victory of the Chilean 
warship " Esmeralda " was generally known as the author 
of El Comhate Homerico. 

A number of minor novelists were contemporary with 
the foregoing. Valentin Murillo began to write as early 
as 1863, and continued to produce at intervals for twenty- 
five years. His most noteworthy novel was Una Victima 
del Honor, 1871, an attack on the death penalty based on 
circumstantial evidence. Another novelist who had ad- 
mirers was Enrique Montt, author of two studies of fe- 
male character, Mujer y Angely a. tale of seduction, and 
Laura Duverne, 1883. Of greater value in realistic de- 
scription were the tales of Pedro Nolasco Cruz, especially 
one entitled Esteban and his picture of country life, Flor 
de Campo, 1887. 

Alejandro Silva de la Fuente promised greater achieve^ 
ment by his Ventura, 1885, and Penas que matan, 1887. 
In Ventura he followed rather Spanish or English models 
than French by relying for interest, not so much on a com- 
plicated intrigue as on observation of manners and psy- 
chological analysis. Ventura is a young man, who comes 
to Santiago from a small village where he is a leader. 
Ambitious to rise he enters politics, and forgetful of his 
village sweetheart, Margarita, he courts a rich heiress for 
the purpose of using her money to further his plans. He 
fails utterly in his courtship and his politics. He falls 

CHILE 235 

sick and, ashamed to return home, plans to commit 
suicide. But Margarita and her mother who have been 
informed of his illness come to Santiago. They take the 
disillusioned youth back to his country home where he 
marries Margarita. 

In Penas que matan, Silva de la Fuente again studied 
the character of a young man. Fernando in love with 
Berta is compelled to witness her marriage to an old man. 
For pique he straightway allies himself with Angela 
Rosales. When, after their marriage, they pay a cere- 
monious visit on Berta and her husband, love reawakens, 
so that presently Fernando stops one day at Berta's 
house, determined to declare his passion. The conse- 
quent excitement brings on a severe attack of his chronic 
ailment of the heart. As he falls completely unconscious, 
it is necessary for Berta to call for assistance. After this 
revelation of his soul to all the world, Fernando at the 
end of a week's suffering is graciously removed by death. 

The influence of President Balmaceda on the constitu- 
tutional history of Chile also found an echo among the 
novelists. During a period of ferment, Balmaceda had 
effected many changes, even conferring on the Congress 
powers which the old constitution had granted only to 
the president. When, however, a dispute with the Con- 
gress arose he was unwilling to yield the old prerogatives. 
An uprising began in 1891 which he was unable to sup- 
press. Finding himself thus in a position without a way 
of escape except by flight or death he chose the latter. 

The anticlerical agitation of Balmaceda's time found a 
supporter in fiction, 1889, in Borja Orihuela Grez' El Cura 
Civil. The scene is laid in a provincial city whose in- 


habitants side with the old priest when the new func- 
tionary arrives to supplant the priest in his duties of 
conducting the register of vital statistics. The provision 
of the law establishing a civil register which especially- 
aroused the priest's ire was that permitting the official 
to perform civil marriage. Hence arose the nickname of 
"cura civil." One old inhabitant in grim humor even 
sent to get "the blessing of the government upon their 
union " a pair — of chickens. The young official, however, 
is both wealthy and discreet. As a result of his conduct 
he finally wins the esteem of town and its prettiest girl. 

Of different type was an explanation of Balmaceda's 
failure pubHshed in the form of a novel, 1 897, Los ultimos 
Proyectos de Eduardo Castro by Rene Brickies. The book 
aroused much discussion because the author attributed 
the failure to the bad character of the soldiers who sup- 
ported the president. Brickies drew a long and amusing 
series of caricatures with considerable realistic power. 

Balmaceda's constitutional changes threw the govern- 
ing power into the hands of the plutocrats who had been 
increasing greatly in numbers. In fact, a rapid increase 
of wealth in Chile during the last quarter of the century 
is an economic fact to be borne in mind. It appears in 
fiction at the end of the last decade of the century. 

Emilio Rodriguez Mendoza published in 1899 a short 
novel, Ultima Esperanza. The idea of the author was to 
show the evils brought into the country by bad French 
novels. The Spanish critic, Juan Valera, in reviewing 
the book declared that Rodriguez Mendoza had merely 
imitated them, that his story might have taken place 
in Paris as well as in Chile. In Vida Nuevay 1902, however, 

CHILE 237 

Rodriguez Mendoza introduced more local color. Then 
Miguel de Unamuno inquired "why in these new countries 
do they insist on depicting everything to us so corrupt?" 
Rodriguez Mendoza replied that he had described a 
genuine phase of life in Santiago, that "the evils come 
from the fact that the people have tried to attain European 
culture at one bound." 

Vida Nueva concerns one Pedro who withdraws from 
club life, its gambling, drinking, and horse racing, and 
retires to write a few predictions of what he expects will 
happen to his various acquaintances. He tells them on 
taking leave that they will all end in poverty or the grave. 
After an absence of four years, during which he receives 
no letters or papers, he returns to Santiago. Contrary to 
his expectations he finds that the sports and high livers 
are not only alive but have advanced commercially, 
politically and socially. Pedro's nervous system is so 
upset that his physician orders him to an asylum for the 

Luis Orrego Luco (bom 1866), who began his literary 
labors by writing short stories and sketches of travel, is 
a novelist of versatile talent. His Un Idilio Nuevo, 1900, 
depicts that class of society in Santiago in which money 
is the thing of greatest value in life. Before its power, 
neither love nor duty can stand. His Memorias de un 
Voluntario de la P atria Vieja^ 1905? is a historical novel 
which puts before the reader both the state of society 
and the important personages of the year of revolution, 
1 8 10. His Casa Grande, 1908, excited much discussion. 

Fiction in the form of the short story was little prac- 
ticed in Chile, before the twentieth century. A virgin 


field lay thus ready for the exploitation of the present 
generation. There have always been of course examples 
of a similar kind of literature so closely-^ltied that the 
division line is hard to draw, namely, the descriptive, often 
jocose, article of manners. But the distinction between 
the descriptive article and the tale should be borne in 

The earliest prose tales written by a Chilean were 
those of J. V. Lastarria, collected several years after their 
appearance, in a volume entitled Antano y Hogano be- 
cause some of the tales were in the nature of historic 
legends. Much later in time came the short stories of 
Orihuela Grez and of Orrego Luco, whose longer works 
of fiction have been discussed. Of the younger writers 
who have sought to rival Maupassant, several are worthy 
of mention. G. Labarca Hubertson and R. Maluenda 
have portrayed Chilean country life and country people 
in an artistic manner. Their men and women are real 
beings with whose loves and sufferings the reader is com- 
pelled to sympathize. The characteristic irony of the 
Maupassant tale seemed the important thing to F. Santi- 
baiiez and to A. C. Espejo. For that reason their stories 
of domestic life though entertaining are not so thoroughly 
Chilean. A master of the short story is Baldomero Lillo 
whose two collections. Sub terra (1904) and Sub sole (1907), 
interspersed with descriptive articles, reveal many classes 
of the Chilean population, farmers, fishermen, the Arau- 
canian Indian, children, miners. 

The descriptive sketch which has flourished so widely 
in all Spanish-American countries, on account of the 
necessities of journalism has on the whole a less jocose 



character, less Andalusian salt, and more matter of fact 
than elsewhere. The Chilean model has been J. J. Vallejo, 
"Jotabeche," whose sketches are both instructive and 

Forty years later, Daniel Riquelme became his first 
serious rival in the same line. Just as others were able to 
extract comic verse from the war with Peru, Riquelme 
found much material for humoristic sketches of military 

The palm, however, for humorous description of man- 
ners must be awarded to Roman Vial (1833-96). Besides, 
he was the favorite author of comic sketches for the stage, 
from his first comedy in 1871, Los Extremos se toe an to 
Gratitud y Amor in 1881. His Mujer-H ombre was awarded 
a prize in a literary contest. 

The legend or historical anecdote is a form of literature 
made especially popular by the Peruvian, Ricardo Palma. 
In Chile this form was cultivated by Enrique del Solar 
(born 1844), son of the poetess, Mercedes Marin del Solar. 
He frankly abandoned any historical purpose though he 
borrowed from written or oral tradition the main facts 
of his narratives wrought out with wealth of detail. For 
example, Una Aventura de Ercilla, an anecdote from the 
poet's life, gave opportunity to present the character of 
the warrior bard against the background of colonial days. 
Enrique del Solar also wrote several novels which won 
applause at the time of their appearance. Dos Hermanos 
won a prize in a newspaper contest in 1886. He also per- 
formed a great service to literature by the editing and 
publishing of his mother's poems. 

Alberto del Solar (bom i860), began his literary career 


by a legend Huincahual dealing with a love affair be- 
tween an Araucanian Indian and a white woman, a topic 
which allowed the author to present many descriptions 
of former days. Alberto del Solar has spent a part of his 
life in the diplomatic service of his country. His impres- 
sions of South Americans in Paris are rendered in Rasta- 
quoere, 1890. Of his novels Contra la Marea, 1894, and 
El Faro, 1902, the latter is the more interesting. That 
again treats of the exotic in the sense that the action takes 
place on a distant island of the Chilean coast where ele- 
mental passions hold sway in the little colony of three 
men and the daughter of the keeper of the light. 

From the legend to genuine history is but a step, and in 
the writing of their history Chileans have excelled. The 
striking characteristic of their historical style, the im- 
partial narrative fortified by citation of original documents, 
has been attributed to the influence of Andres Bello. From 
the moment of his installation in 1843 as the first rector 
of the University of Chile, he superintended the publica- 
tions of the various faculties which were obligatory upon 
their members. It was voted that one member of each 
faculty should each year present to the university a study 
of some topic in national history. 

Of the vast result of such labor only this cursory men- 
tion can be made. And it is possible to consider here only 
those writers who have been most prominent by reason of 
their copiousness. In this respect Benjamin Vicuiia 
Mackenna (1831-86) holds first place not only in his own 
country but in America. The sum of his published work 
has been calculated at one hundred and sixty volumes 
comprising forty-three thousand four hundred and two 

CHILE 241 

printed pages. Every epoch of Chilean history seems 
to have been investigated by him, and the results of his 
researches narrated in an interesting, almost popular style. 
His favorite form was the biographical account of a leader, 
a form which allowed full scope and play to the human 
interest of the narrative. 

Of a more strictly scientific form were the labors of the 
brothers Miguel Luis and Gregorio Victor Amunategui. 
On account of the similarity of their style it is considered 
impossible to separate the individual work. It is certain, 
however, that the interests of Miguel Luis, the elder 
(1828-88), concerned literary topics and literary men. To 
the brothers Amunategui the world owes the earliest gen- 
eral discussion of Spanish-American poetry in their Juicios 
criticos de algunos Poetas hispano-americanoSy written for 
the literary contest of the Circulo de los Amigos de las 
Letras in 1859. For the literary history of Chile the 
biographies of Andres Bello, of Sanfuentes and of Camilo 
Henriquez, and the researches in early efforts in letters 
contained in the volumes La Alborada poetica en Chile and 
Las primeras Representaciones dramdticas en Chile by M. L. 
Amunategui are indispensable. Miguel Luis Amunategui 
also took an important part in politics and rose to be 
President of the Chamber of Deputies and a candidate, 
though unsuccessful, for the presidency of Chile. 

While the historical researches of other men dealt with 
separate individuals or periods, that of Diego Barros 
Arana (1830-1908) formed a comprehensive study of the 
whole. Whatever he published earlier in life found a 
summary in his final monumental Historia general de Chile. 
After Bello, Chile's greatest scholar is undoubtedly Barros 


Arana. Objection has sometimes been made to his dry im- 
partial style, but no reproach can be cast at the historical 
accuracy of this last word on Chilean history. 

The literary history of Chile owes much to Luis Montt 
(i 848-1909), formerly director of the national library, 
author of a bibliography of the older historians of Chile, 
whose private library was purchased by a friend of Harvard 
University and given to it as a remembrance of the Pan- 
american scientific congress at Santiago de Chile. Luis 
Montt's literary labor was diverse in character including 
a volume of poems, a life of Camilo Henriquez and an 
edition in forty-eight volumes of the works of D. F. Sar- 
miento; an edition of Pedro de Oiia's poem El Vasauro 
and the memoirs of Vicente Perez Rosales, entitled Re- 
cuerdos del Pasado. 

The assistance to the historian of such memoirs is con- 
siderable. Important and interesting for the period which 
it covers is Recuerdos de Treinta Jnos, published in 1872 by 
Jose Zapiola (1802-85). 

Encyclopedic in its thoroughness has been the labor of 
Jose Toribio Medina (bom 1852) who has investigated the 
history of printing in every Spanish-American country 
during the colonial period. Equally authoritative is his 
Historia de la Literaiura colonial de Chile. 

Concerning the immense amount of historical writing 
which has been produced in Chile no statement could be 
more precise or illuminating than that of Jorge Huneeus 
Gana in his Cuadro historico de la Produccibn intelectual 
de Chile. "It is a very interesting circumstance for any- 
body who tries to investigate the social traits of our people 
to discover from the very moment of its independent con- 

CHILE 243 

stitution an extraordinary zeal for the patient investiga- 
tion of our past. Each epoch, each administration, each 
general, each revolution, has had its special historian. This 
trait in itself reveals the seriousness of the Chilean char- 



In Peru the period immediately following the expulsion 
of the Spaniards was not propitious for the production of 
literature. For twenty years incessant quarrels between 
contending factions, the speedy overthrow of one dictator 
after another kept the country in a state of anarchy, until 
a strong man, Ramon Castilla (i 797-1 867), became pres- 
ident in 1845. He reestablished order and prosperity, 
introduced the first telegraph and the first railroad, abol- 
ished negro slavery and the personal tribute exacted from 
the Indians, set up a new constitution, stimulated foreign 
trade; in short he ruled Peru with an iron hand for her own 
good. During the fifteen years of his administration 
literature began to flourish. 

The principal figure in this renaissance of letters was one 
of Castilla's foremost political opponents, Felipe Pardo y 
Aliaga (1806-68). His activity, however, was largely 
limited to journalistic satire, but his son Manuel Pardo 
became Castilla's successor in the direction of Peruvian 
affairs, being actually President of Peru from 1872 to 1876. 
Felipe Pardo was sprung from the old Peruvian aristocracy. 
His mother was a daughter of the Marques de la Fuente 
Hermosa, while his father was regent of the royal audiencia 
of Cuzco. Taken to Spain when Peru passed from Spanish 
control, he became a pupil of the famous teacher Alberto 



Lista and even one of his favorite pupils. In 1828 he re- 
turned to Lima. He signalized his arrival by a comedy 
presenting national manners, Frutos de la Educacion, in 
three acts. In this play are revealed the characteristics, 
gay wit and subtle irony, which mark all his writings. In 
fact these qualities in varying form, a modification of 
Andalusian salt, give a peculiar individuality to all Peru- 
vian literature. 

Lima being the seat of the Spanish government in 
America, the residence of the viceroy and the place of re- 
sort for persons of wealth, there developed a distinctly 
urban society with customs, ideas, and manners of its own. 
Its love of pomp and display found satisfaction in bull- 
fighting, in the theater, and in religious processions on 
the many feast days. Its necessity for chatter, laughter 
and gallantry gave rise to parties, picnics, and serenades to 
the sound of the guitar beneath the balconies. Its love for 
dancing came from its Andalusian blood; from its more dis- 
tant Moorish ancestors the custom among the women of 
covering the face. The ladies of Lima adopted the odd 
habit of wearing over their heads a black shawl which 
with one hand they held drawn about the face disclosing 
only one eye. What havoc that one sparkling eye is said 
to have caused in the hearts of youth! The girls, ca- 
pricious and willful before marriage, became tyrannical 
mothers of large families. In both men and women the 
soft climate of Lima engendered an easy-going insouciance, 
a frivolity of mind which took few things seriously and was 
immensely pleased by the laughter-causing jest at any 
trifle. For the kind of wit which could set a whole com- 
pany in an uproar of laughter, as a spark can set going a 


pack of firecrackers, they coined the term "chispa." 
One successful writer of epigrams entitled his productions 
"chispazos." Naturally there developed in such quick- 
witted persons a special vocabulary. 

When Pardo portrayed this society in his three comedies, 
he could not deny free rein to his fun-loving disposition 
but he so guided it in accord with his European education 
and aristocratic breeding as to censure vulgar or immoral 
tendencies. In Los Frutos de la Educacion, he ridiculed 
the father who tries to impose a husband upon his daugh- 
ter as harshly as he judged the young woman who loses 
her sweetheart because she dances with too great aban- 
don the "zamacueca." In Una Huerfana en Chorrillos, 
produced in 1833, the fop, Don Quintin, who imitates 
everything French, even speaking Spanish badly from 
affectation, apparently a common type of youth, is not 
permitted to carry off the young heiress, because morality 
in the form of her two aunts interferes; nor do the manners 
of the seaside resort where dancing continues till daylight 
escape satire. Don Leocadio is another play of manners in 
which Pardo thought to chastise by ridicule. 

In 1836 Pardo was Peruvian minister in Chile and took 
rather an active part in the intellectual life in Santiago, 
even to the extent of publishing a periodical, El Inter- 
prete. At this time were written some of Pardo's famous 
letrillas. These are clever humorous verses without bit- 
terness, composed merely for the sake of jesting on a 
variety of homely topics, as his coat, a bathing suit, an 
incident in the bull fight or the peculiarities of an in- 

After Pardo's return to Peru he placed his pen at the 


service of the conservative party. The cleverest of his 
efforts appeared in 1859, when President Castilla was 
promulgating his new constitution. Pardo edited a satiric 
sheet, Espejo de mi Tierra in which he held up to scorn 
those democratic proposals which grated on his aristo- 
cratic nerves. To him the cry "Viva la libertad" was 
the sublest irony, when liberty meant for the negro and 
his former master equality before the law. In number 
three of the Espejo de mi Tierra, he published a very 
amusing parody on the new constitution. Article by 
article he commented in verse on the various provisions 
after this fashion. Citizenship : Property is not a requisite 
condition; still one would advise the citizen to have trousers 
and a shirt. Property: It is inviolable, except when taken 
by the soldiers of the dictator. The manner of saying 
these things in fluent verse adds immensely to the effect. 
But of course in spite of their evident cleverness, Pardo's 
political satires could not live beyond the occasion which 
called them forth. They did, however, set the tone for 
subsequent writers. 

Manuel A. Segura (1805-71) was not Pardo's equal in 
satiric verses but excelled him in the comedy of manners, 
both in character drawing and in style. He has twelve 
comedies to his credit. As he did not begin to write till 
after his discharge from the army in 1839, his work covers 
a slightly later period than the comedies of Pardo. But 
both men described the same world of gayety and frivolity. 
The girl who meets a lover at the window contrary to her 
father's command reappears in Segura's La Moza Mala. 
In Na Catita and Saya y manto the Peruvian type of Ce- 
lestina, ready for any sort of errand or intrigue, holds the 


center of interest. El Sargento Canuto entertains the 
public with his account of the battle of Ayacucho and his 
preparations to meet the Spaniards if they dare return to 
Peru. The Lances de Amancaes, produced in 1862, stage 
the occurrences at a picnic attended by half the popula- 
tion of Lima. In these plays Segura proves himself a 
better observer of native manners than Pardo and unlike 
him cared nothing about inculcating a moral. 

The contemporaries of Pardo and Segura who cultivated 
lyric poetry were younger men. To them the spirit of 
European romanticism came across the seas stimulating 
them to ambitious imitation. But so foreign to Peru- 
vian temperament was the melancholy pose that Ven- 
tura Garcia Calderon ^ writes thus: "Read in succession 
the works of the whole romantic generation in Peru seem 
like the productions of a single author, so uniform are 
their common lamentations. Imitating the same masters 
with servility, they did not always succeed in expressing 
their melancholy with individuality. And because they 
confused lyric poetry with eloquence, a frequent con- 
fusion with us, they exaggerated their accent. They 
rivaled each other in disappointment. Each cried louder 
than the other." 

It is, however, not strictly correct to say that no dis- 
tinctions between the poets exist. For example there 
arose in Arequipa a whole flight of minor poets with an in- 
dividuality as different as is the invigorating climate of 
their mountain city situated eight thousand feet above 
sea level in sight of lofty volcanic peaks, as different as 
such a situation from that of Lima. The most important 

* V. Garcia Calderon, Del Romanticismo al modernismoy page 105. 


of the Arequipans was Manuel Castillo (1814-70). His 
first poem was indited to the tomb of the revolutionary 
hero of his native town, Mariano Melgar. Castillo him- 
self suffered banishment for participation in an uprising. 
His poems showed a genuine feeling for nature. Es- 
pecially did the verses Al Misti reveal that his soul was 
filled with the majesty of the mountain that dominates 
the landscape of Arequipa. 

The majesty of nature again was the stimulus that 
incited Manuel Nicolas Corpancho (1839-63), to his best 
work. At eighteen he had written a drama El Poeta 
cruzado. In 1853, when returning from Europe through 
the straits of Magellan the sublimity of the scenery in- 
spired him to compose a poem, Magallanes of epic form 
concerning that navigator. The first canto described the 
interview of Magellan with Cardinal Cisneros from whom 
he obtained five ships; the second canto depicted the de- 
parture from Seville; the third the death of Magellan, 
followed by a "corona poetica," laudatory lines on the 
great achievements of the hero. Corpancho also essayed 
the heroic note in poems on the past of Peru. The Ar- 
gentine poet Marmol who wrote an introduction for Cor- 
pancho*s collected poems, Ensayos Poeticosy 1854, asked 
him why he chose to write of the past rather than the 
future. The question indicates the difference between 
the outlook of the two countries represented by the two 
men. Corpancho's praises of Peruvian greatness made 
him popular. In i860 he was appointed minister to 
Mexico. Three years later he met a tragic death in the 
burning at sea of the steamship " Mexico." 

The most genuine in his lyric grief because it accorded 


with his natural temperament and circumstances of life 
was Carlos Augusto Salaverry (1831-90). The impression 
made on his youthful mind by seeing his father shot as a 
rebel was never effaced. His melancholy was sincere when 
his verses linked love and death. The theme of love, 
particularly in the series of poems Cartas a un Angely 
he treated with pleasing and unusual delicacy but with 
emphasis on the sadness of separation from the beloved. 
Loneliness and yearning for the distant sweetheart has 
rarely been more poetically expressed than in his poem 
Acuerdate de mi, brought to a climax with the cry from the 
depths of his soul, "Remember me!" 

Clemente Althaus (1835-81) was rather more of a 
professional litterateur. For that reason he imitated many 
different styles and passed from romanticism in his early 
poems to classicism in his later verses. There is also a 
heroic note in the denunciation of the Spanish fleet which 
seized the Chinchon islands in 1866, a note inherited per- 
haps from his father who was a general at the battles of 
Ayacucho and Junin. There is even a hint of the native 
Peruvian ironical jest. In his abundance, some six hun- 
dred printed pages of verse, there are essays at the poetical 
legend, as Justina and Carmen y Rafael. 

A more philosophical poet who wrote from his personal 
experience in life was Jose Amaldo Marquez (i 830-1904). 
He tried to put the theory of the cosmos into verse by setr 
ting up the atom and force as opponents. His scientific 
turn of mind led him to become an inventor of a machine 
to print with a reduced number of types, a sort of fore- 
runner of the linotype. Attempts to interest capital in 
its perfecting carried him to Buenos Aires and thence to 


Paris where he lived in extreme poverty. The pitiful 
story of his struggles he told in Meditacion. His poem 
A Solas expresses the resignation of a fatalist to the evil 
of loneliness inevitably suffered by a poor man. 

In Pedro Paz Soldan y Unanue (1839-95), his country 
possessed a poet whose peculiar excellencies not only 
placed him without a rival in Peru, but gave him a marked 
individuality among the foremost in Spanish America. 
The name "Juan de Arona" with which he signed his 
poems was derived from that of the family estate situated 
at some distance from Lima. And the beauty of that re- 
gion appeared most minutely observed in his poems, so 
minutely that critics have blamed him for trying to write 
poetry about the common things of everyday life on the 
farm. Though his first collection of poems, Ruinas, had 
echoes of the romantic pose suggested by the title, it was 
full of life and color, love of flowers and birds, whose song 
he even tried to imitate as in the lines. 

La ronca cuculi cuya garganta 
Rompe con sus arrullos la espesura. 

But his temperament was too healthily Peruvian to 
be long depressed, rather on his blue days (as he says in 
Los Dias turbios) he was inclined to rage like a hyena at 
whatever vexed him and to delight in the misfortunes of 
others. His state of mind was usually one which expressed 
itself in jesting at everything and everybody. Most 
wonderful was the amount of fun which he extracted 
from an account in facile verse of a journey made by a 
mixed company from Lima, twenty leagues into the 
country. The persons in the cavalcade, the places and 


incidents on the way all furnished him with ample ma- 
terial for burlesque. At greater length he told in mock 
heroics, La Pinzonada, the deeds of Admiral Pinzon. Or 
he sympathized with the complaints of the wife of a mule 
driver. If the verses of a poet signing himself "Roterup" 
struck him as bad, he addressed the unlucky author 
several Roterupadas. 

As time brought disappointments to Paz Soldan, the 
tone of his satire became more and more bitter till in the 
periodical El Chispazo, edited by him, the acme of political 
irony was reached. As if to relieve his mind by resort to 
nature, without the gall which for him now pervaded 
the Peruvian landscape, he busied himself by translations 
of VirgiFs Georgics and extracts from Lucretius and Ovid. 
In estimating Paz Soldan, however, the most intrinsically 
valuable and interesting of his. works will always remain 
the pictures of native life and Peruvian scenery in the 
Cuadros y Episodios peruanos, published in 1867. 

Wherever romanticism flourished as a fashion in verse 
making, a translator was in demand. Such a place fell to 
Manuel Adolfo Garcia, whose renderings of Victor Hugo 
were popular in Peru. Temporarily popular also were 
some of his own compositions both those of lyric character 
and those with epic ring as the eloquent invocation J 

The last of the romanticists was Ricardo Rossel (1841- 
1909). And he followed the spiritualistic ideal of Lamar- 
tine rather than the sensual and pessimistic trend of later 
French poets. His most notable poem, Meditacibn en el 
Cementerio, written on a text from Lamartine, expresses 
the hope that after death the great secret of human des- 



tiny will be revealed to him though he will be unable to 
communicate it to a questioning poet who may come to 
sit on his tomb. Like other Peruvians, however, Rossel 
loved the merry laugh and wrote more than one letrilla 
on a native topic. Historical legends too interested him. 
One of them in verse, Hima Sumac, won a prize in a 
Chilean contest, 1877. 

One of the most widely known Peruvians was Luis 
Benjamin Cisneros (i 837-1904), both because his pro- 
ductive period was long and because he lived much in 
other countries and contributed to their periodicals. 
Moreover, the breadth of spirit in the kind of epic verse 
which he cultivated lifted his poems from the narrow 
circle of the merely local. As Peruvian consul in Havre 
for eight years in the sixties, he made the acquaintance 
of many Spanish Americans, an experience which gave 
rise in him to a strongly Pan-hispanic feeling. This is 
voiced in his Elegia a la Muerte de Alfonso XII, express- 
ing a certain degree of real grief at the loss suffered by 
the nation to which the Spanish Americans are bound, 
both by ties of blood and by a common historical past. 
While Cisneros' ode Al Peru in i860, was a romantic 
outburst of grandiloquent patriotism, his fervid prophecy 
of a glorious future, Aurora Amor; canto al Siglo XX, in 
1885, was written in almost classic style. 

Likewise a wanderer from Peru, Carlos G. Amezaga 
(?-i9o6), derived his originality from his mercurial and 
excitable temperament. In Mexico, the vehemence of 
the verses of Diaz Miron pleased him so that with like 
arrogance he threw out the challenge of an active rebel 
against the injustice of fate. An admirer of heroism 


Amezaga celebrated its manifestations among the humble. 
The most interesting of his poems of this kind is the in- 
complete Leyenda 'del Caucho which in epic style exalts 
the hardships of the poor Indian rubber gatherer in the 
tropical forests. In Buenos Aires, Amezaga won a prize 
with his meritorious Mas alia de los Cielos, in which he 
voices the belief, despite assailing doubts to the contrary, 
that humanity will be redeemed by means of scjence and 
poetry. Amezaga was the author also of a couple of 
dramas along the same lines as his verses, but they were 
not staged and are rather too lyrical for presentation. 

Another philosophical poet but one who, finding verse 
too confining for his thought, adopted the essay in the 
style of Montaigne was Manuel Gonzalez Prada (bom 
1844). At twenty years of age he expressed his pessimism 
by elegies to solitude, but being influenced by the anti- 
clericalism of the Ecuadorean Montalvo he began to 
attack religion till he seemed to many good people "an 
agent of Satan in Peru." His radicalism finally developed 
into anarchism, a nihilistic tendency to overthrow every- 
thing existent. The essays in Pdginas litres fulminate 
not only against religion but against such things as gram- 
mar and orthography. In contrast to his demand for 
freedom of style in prose are both the form and thought 
of his later verses published with the title Minusculas. 
In such highly artificial forms as the triolet and the rondel 
he sings in mystic strain a happy humanity redeemed 
from its present misery. As a professor of literature, 
Gonzalez Prada is said to have taught a whole genera- 
tion to write well. 

In Ricardo Palma (bom 1833), Peru may claim the 


inventor of a new form in literature, the tradition, to give 
it the name which the author himself employed. It is 
nothing more than the historical anecdote, frequently 
only a bit^ scandal, a sensational or unusual crinie, a 
practical joke, just such things as appear in the newspapers 
every day, but Palma's traditions were gleaned from the 
historical chronicles of Peru. Though he vouched for 
their accuracy they were written in such a vein of humor 
with the striking points so skillfully brought out that his 
critics accused him of falsifying history without suc- 
ceeding in producing a novel. None of his imitators ever 
quite caught the trick of style which made his work popu- 
lar in all the periodicals of Spanish America for thirty 
years. The inimitable was probably the dash of Peruvian 
wit. Besides he ransacked so thoroughly both the oral 
and written traditions of Peru that he left little in that 
field for anybody else. 

Palma, when scarcely twenty years of age, was banished 
for participation in a political plot. Accordingly, in Paris 
he published a volume of verse, Armonias, libro de un 
desterrado. While it contained enough laments in ro- 
mantic tone to justify the sub-title, the most original 
poems were certain "cantorcillos" miniatures in verse of 
his later traditions in prose. 

In the first series of traditions, Palma, aiming more at 
the historian'^task, related the acts of the viceroys; 
but as the number of the series lengthened into nine 
between 1863 and 1899, any sort of anecdote afforded 
him material. Consequently he played upon a great 
diversity of emotion from the thrill of horror to the broad 
laugh, and introduced members of every class of society 


from the viceroy to the slave. Being somewhat skeptical 
himself, he delighted in stories referring to religious super- 
stitions, belief in ghosts or tales dealing with loose living 
by friars. At the same time he paid willing tribute to 
heroism, as in the story of Fray Pedro Marieluz, who 
died rather than reveal the secrets of the confessional 
even when his political sympathies would have persuaded 
him to do so. 

But to excite laughter was Palma's chief aim. As an 
example take the tale of the skeptical Andalusian shop- 
keeper, who did not believe in hell. A fanatic priest 
wished to buy some provisions of him on credit. The 
man refused to sell, saying discourteously: " I won't 
trust you in order to be paid in hell, that is, never." 
The priest accused the shopkeeper of being a heretic 
because he did not believe in hell and so worked on the 
sentiment of the villagers that the shopkeeper had to flee 
to save his life. The priest incidentally excommunicated 
him. To lift the decree of excommunication, the shop- 
keeper betook himself to the archbishop in Lima. The 
latter imposed as penance marriage with a certain young 
woman of ill repute, daughter of a famous vixen. After 
the shopkeeper had been married a short time, he admitted 
to a friend that the priest was right in affirming the ex- 
istence of hell "because I have it at home." 

The plastic character of Palma's traditions owes much 
to his constant effort to culj the homely phrase or the 
picturesque turn of expression from the speech of the 
people or from old books. He put together some observa- 
tions of this sort in his Papeletas lexicogrdficas, a con- 
tinuation of Paz Soldan's Diccionario de Peruanismos, 


As a result of this careful documentation and Palma's 
resolve not to inj ect into the narrative any fancies of his 
own, jthe reader of his traditions feels that the vivid 
picturc—jof colonial times and ideas possesses historic 
value and is thankful that Palma has wiped from it the 
dust oTages. 

That more than one of Palma's traditions related in a 
few pages of print might be expanded into a novel has been 
indicated by Valera. But fiction by a curiosity of fate 
was cultivated in Peru by women. This may have been 
due to the influence of a remarkable woman of Argentine 
birth, Juana Manuela Gorriti de Belzu, whose life story 
equalled the inventions of fiction. 

Bom in 18 19, at the age of twelve she emigrated with 
her father when he was banished and lived with an uncle 
in Bolivia. At the age of fifteen she was married to 
Manuel Belzu, then a colonel in the Bolivian army, and 
later one of the most noted if not notorious characters in 
Bolivian history. Belzu being partly of Indian blood, 
a *'cholo," he wielded great influence with the Indian 
element so strong in his country. In 1847, when ordered 
to take his command to the frontier, he started a rebellion. 
Though unsuccessful he merely suflPered temporary dep- 
rivation of his position for soon thereafter he was made 
minister of war. In 1848, pretending to make an inspection 
of the frontiers, he organized an uprising which put him 
at the head of the government. As President of Bolivia 
he ruled despotically for seven years. Driven out then 
he lived in Europe for ten years, till in 1865 he returned 
and started a revolution. Momentarily successful he was 
assassinated in the presidential palace by his beaten rival 


Melgarejo who was accepted as president by the troops 
assembled in the square below. 

During Belzu's exile and after his death, his wife, Juana 
Manuela Gorriti, lived in Lima where she became promi- 
nent for she instituted a girls' school and edited a periodi- 
cal. El Correo del Peru. As early as 1845 she had written 
a considerable tale. La Quena, dealing with the history of 
the Incas and the days of their splendor in Cuzco. She 
continued to write stories mainly with a historical plot, 
some of which were based on events in Argentina in the 
time of Rosas. In Buenos Aires in 1865, a wave of popu- 
larity in her favor was inaugurated by the editors of a 
review who printed and sold by subscription a collection 
of her stories with the title Suenos y Realidades. Since 
then Juana Gorriti has been lauded in Argentina as one of 
the literary glories of the country. In Lima where she 
made her home for so many years her influence was very 
great. No literary gathering was complete without her 

For example, she arranged a magnificent ovation to 
Clorinda Matto de Turner when she came to Lima in 1877. 
Clorinda Matto, bom 1854, was a well-educated and tal- 
ented young lady of Cuzco who married an Englishman, 
Dr. Turner, in 1871. She wrote verses and articles for 
various papers and attracted special attention by tradi- 
tions in Ricardo Palma's manner dealing with her native 
city Cuzco. Palma was present at the reception in Lima 
and congratulated her. After his remarks and the reading 
of various poems Juana Gorriti crowned the guest with a 
wreath of silver filigree and presented her with a gold pen. 
Two years after this ceremony at the time of the war with 


Chile, her popularity among her compatriots enabled her 
to carry out successfully a public subscription to equip 
a regiment of soldiers known as the "libres de Cuzco." 
After her husband's death in 1881, Clorinda Matto de- 
voted her attention entirely to literature. 

In her writing as in her conduct love of country was the 
distinguishing characteristic, both of the traditions of 
which she published two series and of her famous novel 
Aves sin Nido. The latter for its social importance has 
been compared to Uncle Tom 5 Cabin. The Peruvian 
novel written in picturesque style, portrays the wretched 
condition of the Indian living in subjection to the exactions 
of the governor, the parish priest and the land holder. 

^^ Aves sin Nidoy' says the Mexican critic F. Sosa,^ "is a 
book which the President of Peru and the head of the Peru- 
vian church ought to learn by heart; the first in order to 
learn in all its enormity the depraved conduct of the civil 
oppressors of the Indians and the second in order to root 
out the race of bad priests." 

More successful purely as a novelist was Mercedes 
Cabello de Carbonero. She may truly be called the one 
Peruvian writer who has produced realistic pictures of 
Peruvian society. In Las Consecuencias she studied the 
evil of gambling as it develops in Peru. The frequent 
revolutions originating in some politician's disappointed 
ambitions are explained in El Conspirador, as well as the 
moral and social degeneration of the individuals concerned. 
Blanca Sol, published in 1889, is the drama of a woman of 
society borne on to ruin through her desire to shine, her 
bad education and the evil example of the world about 
^ F. Sosa, Escritores y Poetas sud-americanos. 


her, a Madame Bovary in a Peruvian environment. This, 
the most popular of her books, has passed through several 
editions and been reprinted in many Spanish-American 

In the present generation of writers Peru has given the 
world one of the dominating figures of the latest phase 
of Spanish-American literature, Jose Santos Chocano. 
Though his works have their roots in Peruvian soil their 
fruits have been shared by the whole Spanish-American 
world. They will therefore be considered in connection 
with the modemista movement. 

A few of his leading contemporaries in Peru should be 
mentioned. Clemente Palma, son of Ricardo Palma, 
having inherited his father's ironical ability, displayed it 
in a field of his own selection. His Cuentos Malevolos 
exploit the malice in mankind. Wherever he could find an 
anecdote of a man who rejoiced in his neighbor's harm or 
ill luck, he put it in artistic form, whether the individual 
was a stolid Russian peasant who watched a peasant 
carter's load of fish being jolted into the river without 
warning him or whether it was Satan behind the cross 
sneering at the dying Christ. 

Of poets Jose Galvez has most shown the influence of 
Chocano, but is more original in his erotic sonnets, and 
poems. A melodic Conversion de Venus retells in epic form 
with a curious mingling of Greek and biblical elements 
the story of Mary Magdalen. To the erotic and musical 
practitioners of verse belong also Juan del Carpio and 
Leonid as N. Yerovi. 

The novel, also of the erotic type, has been practiced by 
Felipe Sassone of Italian parentage and by Enrique A. 


Carrillo; and with the same tendencies the realistic drama 
by Manuel Bedoya. 

Speaking now of serious literature Jose de la Riva 
Agiiero has studied the Cardcter de la Literatura del Peru 
independiente as well as the historians of his country. But 
Francisco Garcia Calderon has won international fame by 
his essays on contemporaneous historical or philosophical 
topics in his Homhres e Ideas de neustro Tiempo and his 
Profesores de Idealismo. Written in French Le Perou 
contemporain was crowned by the French Academy; while 
his Democraties latines de VAmerique is an authoritative 
work in comprehensive form of the whole history of Latin 
America. The latter volume makes clear the influence 
in every country of the local politician, the demagogue, or 
using the Spanish word, the caudillo, in stirring up the 
mob to support him as a dictator. The problems which 
face each country from the character of its population and 
its geographical position are graphically outlined. 


In colonial days the mountainous region beyond Lake 
Titicaca was known as Alto Peru. As the Inca stronghold 
Cuzco was also situated in Upper Peru some of the most 
dramatic events in the history of the western continent 
occurred in this locality. Not to be forgotten is the fact 
that the famous hill of Potosi, which has yielded more than 
two billion dollars worth of silver, is now in the Bolivian 
province of that name. In the town of PotosT, which once 
held 160,000 inhabitants but now dwindled to small 
proportions as her mines have been exhausted, were heard 


the first mutterings of revolution in Peru. And in the 
province of Potosi almost the last remnant of the Spanish 
forces in America was rounded up by General Sucre, the 
victor at the great battle of Ayacucho, and compelled to 
surrender in March, 1825. An assembly of delegates from 
Upper Peru declared the independence of the region and 
gave it the name of Bolivia in honor of the Liberator, 
Simon Bolivar, whom they named perpetual protector 
of the republic, and invited to prepare a constitution. 
Under it General Sucre was elected the first president. 
He was ousted from the presidency in two years and from 
that time till 1871 nearly every president was a usurper 
who ruled by force of arms. 

The population of the country contains only about 
twelve per cent of pure whites. And they, probably on 
account of the climatic conditions on the high tableland 
averaging above twelve thousand feet above sea level, 
have never shown much energy apart from the exploita- 
tion of the immense mineral wealth of the country. Con- 
sequently the literary production of Bolivia has been 
slight with neither a noteworthy journalistic current ac- 
companying its succession of dictators nor a capital poet 
whose work commands attention. 

The romantic movement in literature, however, stim- 
ulated three contemporaries to poetic effort, Benjamin 
Lens (1836-78), Nestor Galindo (1830-65), and Daniel 
Calvo (1832-80). The melancholy tone of Galindo*s 
poems published under the title of Ldgrimas had its jus- 
tification in his life, for he suffered proscription more than 
once and was finally executed by a firing party. Calvo*s 
first volume is described by its title Melancolias, His 


later Rimas contains some romantic legends, of which 
Ana Dorset contains interesting descriptions. One of his 
best lyrical pieces is addressed to Galindo. 

Of a younger generation Rosendo Villalobos (bom i860) 
has been an active writer contributing to the press of Lima 
where he was a member of the Ateneo. Of his poems of 
which he put forth several volumes Tic-taCy a mi reloj, 
meditations caused by the ticking of his watch in the silent 
night, makes good reading. 

To the modernista movement Bolivia gave Ricardo 
Jaimes Freyre who was associated with Ruben Dario. He 
has lived all his manhood days in Argentina, however, and 
is now a professor in Tucuman. 



The geography of Ecuador has exercised great influ- 
ence on both its political and literary history. Its two 
chief cities with their respective provinces are absolutely 
diverse in character. Quito, the capital, is situated at an 
altitude of 9,300 feet above sea level; Guayaquil, its sea- 
port, lies amid pestilential swamps at the mouth of a 
tropical river directly under the equator, one of the most 
unhealthy spots on earth. Before the opening of the 
railroad in 1908, the journey between the two cities re- 
quired several days. As Quito was connected with Bogota 
by an old trade route between the ridges of the Cordil- 
leras, greater affinity existed naturally between these 
two high lying cities than between the capital of Ecuador 
and its seaport. 

At the time of the expulsion of the Spaniards there was 
a movement under the leadership of the poet Olmedo 
to establish the province of Guayaquil as an independent 
republic. But Bolivar succeeded in uniting Ecuador, 
Colombia, and Venezuela into one republic under the 
name of Nueva Granada. When this ill-assorted union 
fell apart at the Liberator's death a Venezuelan general, 
Juan Josa Flores, became president of Ecuador, and re- 
mained in office for fifteen years. It was a partisan vic- 
tory of this president that Olmedo sang in his last great 



poem. When Flores fell from power his successor at- 
tempted to establish a government along radical lines, 
but Ecuador was too conservative to permit it. Under 
the leadership of Garcia Moreno the conservative catholic 
element won complete control and set up a clerical dic- 

Gabriel Garcia Moreno (1821-75) ^^st attracted at- 
tention by his journalistic articles and his satirical verse 
in the style of Juvenal. His epistle in verse to Fabio on 
the wretched condition of his country assigns as a cause 
the irreligion of the governing party. A mystic and yet 
a man of action, Garcia Moreno summed up his whole 
mental attitude and political policy in the sentence, "I 
am a Catholic and proud to be one." As leader of the 
conservative party, he welcomed the Jesuits when they 
were expelled from Colombia and published a lengthy 
political tract in two volumes, Defensa de los Jesuitas. 
When he became president in 1861, he established a sort 
of theocracy of which he was the secular arm, ruling with 
absolute tyranny. If his enemies in Guayaquil plotted 
revolution, he appeared so suddenly in the city with an 
armed force that they were easily crushed. On the other 
hand, to bad friars he was no less severe. For example, 
a drunken friar was ridden through Quito on the back of 
an ass, with his face turned toward the animal's tail. 
But severity which results in the execution of many 
creates embittered enemies. Of these, the most persistent 
and able was Juan Montalvo whose journalistic attacks 
finally resulted in the assassination of Garcia Moreno, 
in 1875. Garcia Moreno, both from the point of view 
of individual intelligence and of the extent of influence 


on the affairs of his country, was one of the most remark- 
able of Spanish Americans, and he differed from all in 
the rigid character of his reHgious principles. 

Juan Montalvo (1833-89), the ardent advocate of 
tyrannicide, preferred his independence to all else. Though 
President Veintemilla, successor to Garcia Moreno, tried 
to buy his silence by political preferment, Montalvo re- 
fused to be aught but a critic of the government. Though 
a Christian who esteemed the Imitation the greatest of 
books, he was actuated by the most intense hatred of 
friars and the clergy. In literature he developed a style 
unique in America and instinct with the best qualities of 
the older Spanish prose. For that reason his Siete Tra- 
tados, written about 1873, is one of the most widely known 
Spanish-American books, but as a critic points out he is 
more admired than read, because his qualities are such as 
appeal chiefly to literary men. 

The Siete Tratados are seven essays on the following 
topics: — nobility, beauty in the human race (women), 
reply to a pseudo-catholic sophist, genius, Bolivar and 
Washington, the banquets of the philosophers (i. e., food), 
and El Buscapie (the prologue to an unpublished book, 
Chapters forgotten by Cervantes), Written in the manner 
of Montaigne (Montalvo said he was moved to write 
by "that pruritic egoism which made the old Gascon 
celebrated") these rambling discourses full of subtle 
irony and illustrative anecdote prove interesting reading 
on account of the brilliant ideas and amusing turns of 
thought on familiar matters. The author never neglects 
an opportunity for a thrust at a friar or a bit of religious 
superstition. To North Americans, his comparison be- 


tween Washington and Bolivar might be instructive. He 
finds them both greater than Napoleon, because their 
work still prospers whereas his has been destroyed. 

After 1882, Montalvo lived continuously in Paris. He 
attempted to found a quarterly, El Espectador, a name 
borrowed from Addison's famous periodical, in which he 
would discourse on current events in the style of his 
Tratados; but lack of financial success soon terminated 
its issue. He probably spent much of his time on the 
Capitulos que se olvidaron a Cervantes ^ published post- 
humously in Besancon. 

So successful was he in copying both the style and 
spirit of Cervantes that the book must be adjudged one of 
the very best of the numerous imitations of Don Quixote. 
One seems to be listening again to the sage discussions of 
the doleful knight and his squire, though there is plenty 
of Montalvo's own personality in such passages as the 
following. Don Quixote is examining the treasures of a 
village church. "The first thing which offered itself to 
his eyes were some large paintings which represented the 
principal miracles of the patron of the village. *This 
happened in the Bay of Biscay,' said the priest, indicating 
a shipwreck. 'AH the passengers were saved except those 
who were drowned.' * Weren't they all saved then.?' in- 
quired Don Quixote. *Not a third of them, sir.' 'And 
those who perished, where are they.?' again inquired Don 
Quixote. 'Wherever God may have put them. On the 
canvas are only those of the miracle.*" 

The dying hour of Montalvo is worthy of narration for 
the phase it reveals of his strange personality. Having 
caught a severe cold he suffered an attack of pleurisy. 


which the doctors found necessary to relieve by a surgical 
operation. He refused the administration of ether, be- 
cause "on no occasion in my life have I lost the conscious- 
ness of my acts.'* Though he bore the operation stoically, 
it failed to save his life. An hour before death he had 
himself dressed in his best clothes and seated in an easy 
chair, saying, — "Whenever we are going to perform a 
solemn act, or when we expect to meet a person of conse- 
quence, we dress in our best. As no act is more impor- 
tant than quitting life for death, we ought to receive her 
decently." (The feminine gender of the Spanish words 
for life and death, allowing one to speak of death as 
"her," gives the point to the sentiment.) Montalvo at 
the same time had given a silver coin to an attendant to 
buy flowers to adorn his apartment. The price of flowers 
being high in Paris in January, the man returned with 
nothing more than four pinks, which exhaled their frag- 
rance as Montalvo's spirit passed away. 

Another native of Ecuador who attained a wide repu- 
tation outside of his own country was the poet Numa 
^ Pompilio Llona (183 2-1907). Bom in Guayaquil, he was 
educated in Colombia and in Lima where from 1853 for 
nearly ten years he was a professor of literature at the 
college of San Carlos. He then spent several years 
in Europe. On his return he lived chiefly in Ecuador 
with periods of absence in the diplomatic service of his 
country. While he wrote many sonnets and some pa- 
triotic pieces, his most popular work consisted of long 
poems with philosophical content, such as were the 
fashion in Spanish America in the sixties; for example, 
Los Caballeros del Apocalipsisy inspired by a painting 


which he had seen in Paris, Noche de Dolor en las Mon- 
tanas, religious thoughts experienced among the Apen- 
nines, and most famous of all. La Odisea del Alma, written 
in 1864, so admired by the Argentine poet R. Obligado 
that he wrote a poem to record his feelings on reading it. 

This poem. La Odisea del Alma, addressed to his mother, 
is a philosophical discourse on life. It begins by a refer- 
ence to the idyll of childhood, its response to the wonders 
and beauties of nature, his boyish plans for an education 
in the classics. Filled with patriotic pride, strong, for the 
struggle, armed with theories and maxims, the youth 
aspires to intellectual triumphs. When he meets reality 
the first effect on his illusions is indifference, but as he 
continues to mingle with human society, his ideals break 
on the reefs. The poem concludes by comparing life with 
the combats in the Roman Coliseum in which the glad- 
iators "fell with haughty expression and in a posture 
artistic and gallant." 

Of minor poets in Ecuador an anthology shows a decent 
number. Of these the poetess Dolores Veintemilla de 
Galindo waged an unequal battle for better consideration 
for women in Ecuador. Accused unjustly by a priest 
she committed suicide, and the only mourner at this 
funeral of a suicide was the Chilean poet Guillermo Blest 
Gana, then minister to Ecuador, who attended in full 
diplomatic dress. 

Other writers of verse were Honorato Vasquez, Julio 
Zaldumbide (1833), and Luis Cordero (1830-1912). >^ 
Cordero*s lines struck a patriotic note with something of 
the tone of the Argentine poet Andrade to whom he 
dedicated his best poem, Aplausos y Quejas. Zaldumbide 


was a lover of Byron's poems and translated Lara. Though 
the philosophic strain predominated in La Eternidad de 
la Vida and the Canto a la Musica, his Soledad del Campo 
revealed true feeling for the beauties of nature. 
V Juan Leon Mera (1832-99), was the literary man of 
most universal talent yet produced by Ecuador, poet, 
scholar, antiquarian, novelist, excellent in all. His first 
volume of verse, published in 1858, showed both acquaint- 
ance with and love for the Indian traditions and lore of 
his country. The short romances and poems of this vol- 
ume, of which should be mentioned an ode to the sun from 
the top of Panecillo, a small mountain on which the 
aborigenes had a temple, were followed in 1861 by the 
long legend La Virgen del Sol. 

This pleasant poetic tale in verse is one of the most in- 
teresting of the many which Spanish Americans have 
written concerning the life of the Indians. The reader's 
sympathy is awakened and held by the dramatic course 
of the adventures of the lovers, while the introduction of 
verses in imitation of the native serenades or "yaravies" 
adds a strange exotic element. The story is laid in the 
time of the conquest of Ecuador. It introduces the legend 
of Uiracocha, an Inca, who had prophesied that the 
country would fall into the hands of conquerors when the 
volcano Cotopaxi should be in eruption. The maiden 
Cisa, one of the virgins dedicated to worship of the sun, 
elopes with Amaru. They live in a cabin in the woods 
but their idyll is rudely disturbed by an eruption of the 
volcano, which they believe is a sign of the wrath of the 
deity at their sin. They flee but are captured by a band 
of Indians who were searching for them. They are bound 



to stakes and about to be executed when a Spanish army 
surprise the Indians. When the Spaniards learn why the 
young man and maid are bound, the friar Marcos Niza 
baptizes and marries them. 

Mera next occupied himself with various literary and 
scientific investigations on topics mainly connected with 
Ecuador. He wrote a history of its literature, Ojeada 
historico-critica sobre la Poesia ecuatoriandy prepared an 
edition of the poems of the celebrated Mexican nun Sor 
Juana Ines de la Cruz, and some years later elucidated 
some obscure points in the life of Olmedo, whose letters 
he edited. In 1879 he published a prose novel, Cumandd 
un drama entre salvajes. 

Cumanda is a beautiful young woman living with an 
Indian family. A Spaniard, Carlos de Orozco, falls in 
love with her but she is married to an old Indian chief. 
The latter dies on the night of the wedding. When his 
tribesmen plan to sacrifice her to his departed spirit, she 
escapes through the woods to the Spanish mission. How- 
ever, to save Carlos, who had been taken prisoner, and to 
avoid making the mission the object of a threatened 
attack by the Indians, she voluntarily gives herself up to 
the savages, who thereupon sacrifice her. Carlos and 
Father Domingo set out to rescue Cumanda but succeed 
only in finding her charred body. Father Domingo dis- 
covers that the girl was his own daughter whom he sup- 
posed killed in babyhood when his farm had been sacked 
by savages. 

The Spanish critic Valera was much pleased by this 
novel, to which he gave such high praise as the following: 
** Neither Cooper nor Chateaubriand have better de- 


picted the life of the woods nor have felt and described 
more poetically exuberant nature still free from the power 
of civilized man." 

Other writers of prose fiction were Francisco Campos 
with his historical and fantastic legends and Carlos R. 
Tobar. The latter's Timoleon Coloma in the form of an 
autobiography gave interesting sketches of life in Quito. 
Other sketches he printed in volumes entitled Brochadas 
and Mas Brochades. 

In the field of verse Emilio Gallegos Naranjo not only 
complied a Parnaso ecuatoriano but published volumes of 
his own compositions, 1888. Dolores Sucre wrote a pa- 
triotic ode to her ancestor General Sucre, 1896. Among 
the young men who have written in modernista manner 
Emilio Gallegos del Campo has won the greatest praise 
from critics outside of Ecuador. 

An intellectual leader of the present day in Ecuador 
is Alejandro Andrade Coello, a student of literature and 
founder in 191 3, of La Revista nacional in Quito. 



In studying Colombian literature, certain geographical 
and historical facts about the country must be borne in 
mind. Colombia occupies the northwest corner of South 
America adjoining the isthmus of Panama. The first 
settlements were made on the isthmus and at Santa Marta 
and Cartagena on the coast of the Caribbean sea. The 
climate here is excessively hot and unhealthy. Three 
ranges of mountains forming part of the Andes come down 
to the ocean. Between the ranges flow great rivers, the 
most important of which are the Magdalena and the 
Cauca. Their sources lie amid lofty mountain peaks 
whose elevation above sea level frequently exceeds fifteen 
thousand feet. 

The first expedition to the interior set out from Santa 
Marta in 1536, under the command of Gonzalo Jimenez de 
Quesada. Following the Magdalena he arrived at the 
site of the present city of Bogota, situated in a wide plain 
at an elevation of eight thousand five hundred feet. The 
soil of the "sabana" of Bogota, comprising an area of 
two thousand square miles, is very fertile. Though 
directly under the equator the region enjoys a mild and 
agreeable climate. On account of its general resemblance 
to the situation of the vega of Granada, Quesada gave 
the country the name of New Granada. Being rich in 



minerals, it attracted a fairly numerous immigration from 

To reach Bogota required in the old days a journey of 
at least three weeks, and even to-day when a portion of 
the distance may be traversed in a steamboat on the 
Magdalena and by rail around some of its rapids, not 
less than seven days are necessary for the trip. As a 
consequence of their geographical isolation, the people 
have retained many characteristics of their ancestors, with 
less change than is the case in other Spanish-American 
communities. The educated class having then distinction 
of ancestry as well as inherited wealth, it is natural that 
their literature should have aristocratic traits. Several 
of the poets who deserve individual mention, even in so 
brief an account as the present, have held the office of 
president of the republic. 

As the term of this office during a large part of the 
nineteenth century was only two years, and there have 
been no less than thirty-seven revolutions in Colombia, 
many men have had an opportunity for a brief period of 
enjoying the honor. The great revolution against Spanish 
dominion was successful when Bolivar, in 1819, defeated 
the royal soldiers at Boyaca. But the republic which 
the Liberator formed from the countries now known as 
Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador and named Colombia 
lasted only till his death. The three parted company in 
183 1, and New Granada reassumed her colonial name. 
The political changes of 1861 guaranteed great freedom 
of individual action to the various sections of the country, 
which was symbolized by the name United States of 
Colombia. Such turmoil resulted from the federal form 


of government that in 1886 a new constitution setting 
up the unitarian type of republic was adopted; and the 
former states became departments as in the French Re- 
public. The latest important episode in Colombian his- 
tory was the separation of Panama, in 1903, and its es- 
tablishment as an independent republic. 

Among the young men of prominence in the Republic 
of New Granada, was Jose Eusebio Caro (1817-53), ^^o 
with his friend and fellow poet, Jose Joaquin Ortiz (1814- 
92), founded the first purely literary journal. La Estrella 
Nacional, in 1836. Caro was also editor of the political 
journal El Granadino. His share in political life was con- 
siderable as he was not only a member of Congress, but 
also held various cabinet offices. An incident that oc- 
curred in 1844, when he occupied a position in the office 
of the Secretary of the Interior, illustrates the character 
of the man. Julio Arboleda accused Caro in open con- 
gress of designs on the constitution. Caro replied that 
Arboleda being a slave holder, it was not fitting of him 
that he should think anybody an enemy of liberty. Ar- 
boleda retorted that Caro was a parasite of the govern- 
ment, whereat the latter instantly resigned his position, 
though he needed it to support his family. 

Character in fact is the distinguishing note of Caro's 
poems. He is the Puritan of South American literature. 
The severity and sternness of his temperament seems to 
have been inherited from his grandfather or imbibed from 
his teachings. His own father, an officer in the Spanish 
army, threw in his lot with the colonials on account of 
his marriage to Jose's mother, but the grandfather, a 
judge in the Spanish court, refused to take part in the re- 


bellion. Being unable to leave Colombia on account of 
a chronic ailment, he suffered much persecution. With 
him the boy Jose lived during the absence of his father in 
Europe on a mission for the young republic. From his 
grandfather, a learned man, the boy received also much 
of his early education and the first inspiration to verse 

His poems are an echo of his life experiences, a sort of 
diary of his moral emotions. He records his feelings at 
his father's death in El Huerfano sohre el Cadaver. While 
the poems to "Delina" are not so very different from the 
kind of poetry that men ordinarily write to the women 
they subsequently marry, those inspired by his marriage 
and the events of his married life possess a strange orig- 
inality of conception. His Bendicion Nupcial treats the 
subject of marriage from a point of view that ought to 
delight the present day advocates of eugenics. But even 
they might balk at the poet's procedure in A su Primo- 
genito, written before the child's birth. Accused by his 
contemporaries of obscenity in this poem, he replied that 
he would give his son the pen with which he blessed him 
before birth. Upon the occasion of the baptism of his 
second son, Caro wrote El Bautismo, a defense of Chris- 
tianity. No less vehement was he in political verse, es- 
pecially on topics dealing with liberty. 

In this regard he was ready to stand by his opinions, a 
fact which led to the one great event of his life and per- 
haps ultimately to his death. He dared to defend in 
print and before the government, a man whom he be- 
lieved was being unjustly treated. The result, however, 
was a sentence of imprisonment against Caro. But his 


friends succeeded in getting him out of the country, and 
he lived in banishment for three years in New York. 
When politics at home allowed his return, he set out in fine 
spirits and health, but on arriving at Santa Marta he was 
seized by a fever and died the sudden death of the tropics. 
The lyrical quality of Carols poetry is considerable. 
At the same time his poems are filled with ideas, so that 
they resemble to some extent brilliant declamatory ora- 
tions. He was accustomed to use unusual meters and 
rhyme schemes. A fair notion of his workmanship and 
his worth as a poet may be obtained by the follow^ing 
translation of the lines, En Boca del fjltimo Inca, rendered 
in approximately the meter of the original with the same 
scheme of rhymes. 

To-day arriving on Pichincha's slope, 
The deadly cannon of the whites I flee, 
Like the sun a wanderer, like the sun aflame, 
Like the sun free. 

O Sun, my Father, hearken! Manco's throne 
Lies in the dust; Thy altar's sanctity 
Profaned; exalting thee alone I pray. 
Alone but free. 

O Sun, my Father, hearken! A slave before 
The nations of the world I'll not agree 
To bear the mark. To slay myself I come. 
To die though free. 

To-day Thou wilt perceive me, when afar 
Thou dost begin to sink into the sea, 
Singing Thy hymns on the volcano's top, 
Singing and free. 


To-morrow though, alas! when once again 
Thy crown throughout the east will shining be, 
Its golden splendor on my tomb will fall, 
My tomb though free. 

Upon my tomb the condor will descend 
From heaven, the condor, bird of liberty. 
And building there its nest, will hatch its young. 
Unknown and free.^ 

To his friend and co-editor, J. J. Ortiz, the poet 
Caro owes the publication of his collected poems. Ortiz 
is himself reckoned among Colombia's great poets, but 
his inspiration had its sources more directly in the ro- 
mantic school, and he lived a much longer life. On the 
other hand, Caro's congressional opponent, Julio Arboleda, 
was exactly his contemporary, as they were both born 
in the spring of the same year. Arboleda must be ac- 
counted, however, the greater poet. 

Julio Arboleda (1817-1862) was descended from one of 
the earliest settlers in the bishopric of Popayan, a district 
on the headwaters of the Cauca near the border of Ecuador 
on the old trade route between Bogota and Quito. His 
father, Rafael Arboleda, was a trusted friend of Bolivar 
and ruined his health on a mission for the Liberator. In 
1830, taking with him his son Julio, he went to Europe in 
search of relief. The father died within a year, but the 
son remained for eight years till he received the degree of 
Bachelor of Arts from the University of London. On his 
return to Popayan he plunged with all the ardor of youth 
into politics. Though he was one of the richest proprietors 
of the locality, he enlisted in the national guard then form- 

* Version of Alfred Coester. 


ing to put down a serious revolution against the govern- 
ment at Bogota. 

His personality was attractive. Throughout the coun- 
try he became known as "Don Julio." His bravery won 
for him steady advancement in military rank so that at 
the end of the war, 1842, he went home as a colonel. Then 
he married and devoted his time to his estate and to letters. 
His neighbors interrupted this manner of life by sending 
him to the Congress, where he was conspicuous for his 

As a member of the opposition he published an im- 
portant pamphlet against the Jesuits, but when in 1849 his 
party won the upper hand and electing Jose H. L5pez 
president, proceeded to expel the order, Arboleda was un- 
willing to follow all his measures. He withdrew to his 
native town and began the publication of a satirical jour- 
nal, El Misoforoy against the democratic and socialistic 
liberal party. For this he was thrown into prison. From 
its walls he sent forth his two most noted political poems, 
Estoy en la cdrcel, and Al Congreso granadino. In the 
former he lashed with bitter invective "Lopez el Tirano" 
and his judge, Miguel Valencia, who was recklessly con- 
demning to death even women. In the latter poem he 
urged the Congress to stand firm in "the defense of the 
people" and "restore to the Republic her ancient majesty." 

Having been set free from prison by reason of money 
paid by his brother, Arboleda joined the revolution that 
was beginning in the province on the frontier of Ecuador. 
Badly beaten he and his companions made their way 
through Ecuador to Lima. At this time his property was 
sacked and the papers in his house destroyed. Among them 


was the manuscript of the long poem which is Arboleda's 
chief claim to fame as a poet, the epic history of Gonzalo 
de Oyon. After residing in Peru till the beginning of 1853, 
he set out for New York, bidding farewell to "gaya Lima" 
in a lyric outburst that contrasted his melancholy state as 
a proscribed person with the dwellers in an earthly Eden. 
This gem begins: — 

Me voy de las playas alegres, siiaves, 
Do el Rimac corriendo tranquilo murmulla; 
Do el cefiro alienta, la t6rtola arrulla. 
Do nunca ha apagado sus rayos el sol. 

The next year with a change in the government Arboleda 
returned to Bogota as a senator. It was not long before 
civil war again prevailed. Arboleda held this time a high 
position in the army of the constitutionalists operating 
against the dictator Melo. Success crowned their arms. 
As President of Congress Arboleda inducted into office the 
new President Mallarino. In 1856 Ospina of the con- 
servative party was elected President, but the caudillo 
Mosquera instantly started a revolt. At this period 
Arboleda was in Europe for the purpose of educating his 
children. When affairs were going badly with Ospina he 
called upon Arboleda to assist. The latter felt that duty 
claimed him and leaving Paris he reached Colombia in the 
autumn of i860. He took command at Santa Marta 
where he was promptly besieged. After a month he was 
obliged to evacuate. He transferred his troops and 
munitions of war by sea to Panama, thence he organized 
an expedition along the Cauca river to march upon 
Popayan. In this region the popularity of "Don Julio" 


brought hundreds of the country people to his standard. 
As the government of Ospina had legally come to an end, 
his enthusiastic followers elected Arboleda President, but 
the ratification by the Congress required by the constitu- 
tion was impossible, because Mosquera had taken Bogota 
by assault and the members had fled. As general in chief 
of the constitutional forces Arboleda held his own against 
the dictator for upwards of a year. In one of his battles 
he defeated and took prisoner the President of Ecuador, 
Garcia Moreno, who had taken a part in the struggle near 
the border. But his lieutenants were less successful and 
his soldiers opposed to expeditions that would take them 
far from home. The end came on November 12, 1862, 
when he was killed by an assassin who lay in wait for him 
by the wayside. 

Something is added to the comprehension of Arboleda*s 
character by the perusal of extracts from a letter to an 
English friend about the time of his resistance to the 
government of Lopez. " Fortune has of late smiled upon 
me most graciously. My business has not only gone on 
very well in general, but my lands have such a great 
quantity of excellent quinine that for many years I shall 
be able to export two thousand sacks annually. I have 
a contract for three thousand which I am sure to deliver 
within these twelve months. The export will cost me very 
little because I have more than five hundred idle mules, 
which by the exercise of taking my bales to port will gain 
in vigor and value. . . . The quinine on my lands seems 
inexhaustible. In twenty years I shall have cut the last 
trees and then the first will have grown again." 

It is apparent that such a man was moved to take part 



in politics not through hope of personal gain but from the 
highest motives. The analogy between himself and the 
hero of his great poem, Gonzalo de Oyon, gives it an added 

Though the author spent the leisure moments of ten 
years upon the poem, it was left unfinished. The man- 
uscript of a large part was destroyed by the soldiers who 
sacked his house. Rewritten, another large section was lost 
during the transport of some of Arboleda's effects. As a 
result of its fragmentary state and the conditions under 
which it was produced the whole lacks unity of conception 
both of character and action. 

The foundation is a legend which Arboleda found in the 
local history of his native Popayan. Fleeing from the fate 
of those involved in the rebellion of Gonzalo Pizarro there 
came to New Granada one Alvaro de Oyon. Having 
gathered a band of malcontents to the number of seventy- 
five, they planned to seize the city of Popayan, thence to 
march on Quito and Lima. The assault took place in 
1552 but with disastrous results to the conspirators. 
Alvaro was killed. 

The poet gave to Alvaro a brother, Gonzalo, who is a foil 
to his schemes as well as a contrast to his character. The 
latter is represented as coming to Popayan with the con- 
quistadores. His kind heart leads him to intercede for the 
cacique Puben about to be killed by the Spaniards so that 
he saves the Indian's life. Now Fernando, the son of the 
Adelantado, Sebastian de Benalcazar, has cast eyes upon 
the cacique's daughter, Pubenza, and forces her to marry 
him in order to save her father's life during Gonzalo's 
absence. A few years later Alvaro de Oyon in rebellion 


against the authorities after getting auxiliaries among the 
savage tribes, marches on Popayan. Gonzalo, supposedly 
dead, appears at the fight and decides it in favor of the 
royal cause. Fernando in jealousy declares Gonzalo an 
outlaw and sets a price on his head, but Pubenza warns him 
in time for him to take refuge among the Indians. Once 
more Alvaro de Oyon attacks the city and again Gonzalo 
sallies forth in its defense. In the night the brothers en- 
gage in single combat, but recognizing each other they fall 
into discussion about their respective behaviour. A truce 
follows. During this the unhappy lovers Gonzalo and 
Pubenza have an interview at which they are surprised by 
Fernando, who in mad jealous rage kills his children. In 
the form of a specter he presents himself again to Gonzalo 
and Pubenza but disappears then forever. 

The fragments break off here. Report has it that 
Arboleda intended to have Alvaro desist from his rebel- 
lious plans at the solicitation of his mother. Of this there 
are some evidences in the poem. 

The style and language of the poem is purely Castilian 
with only a slight admixture of native words in certain 
familiar scenes. The narration shows the author's ac- 
quaintance with both the Italian poets and Byron and 
like the Spanish romanticists he preferred to write in a 
variety of meters. 

In regard to the application of the poem to affairs in 
Colombia, the words of Miguel A. Caro ^ are illuminating. 
"Putting aside the improbability of the conversation 
between Gonzalo and Alvaro, it is of the highest interest 
because it has natural application to the perpetual struggle 
» Introduction to Poesias de Julio ArboUda, New York, 1884. 


which in our Spanish America is sustained by the broad 
genuine patriotism which respects tradition and loves 
national unity against those bastard ambitions which 
proclaim liberty but demolish whatever exists. The 
language which Arboleda put in the mouth of Alvaro 
is historically exact. It is the same as that of all those 
rebels and political dogmatists of colonial times. In their 
turn are symbolized in Gonzalo all the champions and 
martyrs of political and religious faith in our country 
and among them most of all Julio Arboleda." 

Whatever may have been the sources of Arboleda's 
inspiration, the romantic spirit that moved other Colom- 
bian poets entered the country by way of Caracas, ac- 
cording to Rafael Pombo.^ From there came not only 
the works of Zorrilla and Espronceda but also the literary 
journals containing the poems of Abigail Lozano and J. A. 
Maitin. Their most important effect was the awakening 
of an interest in the beauties of nature, that wonderful 
scenery of Colombia, its great rivers, its magnificent 
cascades, its stupendous mountains, and its strange and 
varied flora. The falls of Tequendama especially became 
the topic of literary exercise. 

This fall though with less volume of water drops four 
times the distance of Niagara, about four hundred and 
eighty feet. In descending the water strikes a ledge of 
rock and rebounds, then drops in several streams. Much 
of it is turned to vapor which ascends and when gilded 
by the sunlight the iridescence may be seen in Bogota 
five leagues away. 

Among the earliest poems of Gregorio Gutierrez Gon- 
^ Introduction to Poesias de Gutierrez Gonzalez, 


zaiez (1826-72) is one writtea at the age of twenty with 
the title Al Salto del Tequendama. That it was not con- 
ceived wholly in the romantic mood is shown by a quota- 
tion from Andres Bello which serves as a sort of sub-title, 
referring to the river Magdalena and this fall. The great 
master's influence becomes again apparent in Gutierrez 
Gonzalez' longest and most famous poem Sohre el Cultivo 
del Maiz en Antioquia, 1866. Written in quatrains it 
depicted in a lively and poetic style scenes of agricultural 
labor in the author's native province; and was accom- 
panied by a glossary of terms peculiar to that country. 
The poem opens with a description of the clearing of a 
piece of land by a gang of thirty laborers. The poet, 
more attentive to the landscape than they, sees many 
things which he describes to the reader; and in the four 
sections of the poem takes him through the various tasks 
required before the final storing of the grain. 

The poet belonged, however, wholly to the romantic 
type. Sent away from home to school in Bogota he began 
writing verses at the age of eighteen. He was gifted with 
extraordinary ability in improvising, with which he used 
to amuse his schoolmates. To this fact is due perhaps the 
peculiar quality of his lines that made him the popular 
poet of Colombia, and his pen name "Antioco" a house- 
hold word. Even illiterate persons knew his poems by 

In his life too he was a true romantic. When not quite 
twenty he fell so violently in love at first sight with a 
young lady that when she passed near him he became 
so faint that he had to be supported by his companions. 
He consulted a physician on the disorders of his heart 


and this worthy told him to go home and prepare to die. 
He went home but not before he chided in verse the beauty 
whose "barbarous scorn had opened for him the last 
dwelling," and though for her he descended to the sepul- 
cher, he would never receive "even one tear from her di- 
vine eyes." 

The mournful tone did not long predominate. Soon 
thereafter he married the Julia who then appeared in his 
lines as the source of the joy which filled his life. After 
ten years of matrimony in reply to the question of a 
friend why he no longer sang, he wrote those verses on his 
happiness comparing himself to the dove that in the noon- 
day heat attends silent but happy on his beloved in the 
nest; happiness, moreover, resembles the morning-glory 
that blooms in the shade but withers in the sunlight. 

In his material fortunes he was not so happy. Though 
he was bom wealthy, he became involved in the civil wars 
of i860 and 62, and his property was swept away. After 
the restoration of peace he was not successful in his busi- 
ness enterprises. Besides he had eight children to support. 
His discouragement was expressed all too plaintively in 
the verses addressed to various friends and to his wife 
during his last years. The evident sincerity of these poems 
confirms one in the opinion that Gutierrez Gonzalez* 
wide popularity is due to the predominance of that quality 
in his work. Therein lies its firm appeal. 

Less popular were the poems of J. J. Ortiz, and much 
less numerous though he lived to be nearly seventy-eight 
years old. To his romanticism he joined a certain classical 
finish for which reason Menendez y Pelayo reckoned one 
of his poems, Los Colonos "one of the finest jewels of 


American poetry; — descriptive and lyrical at the same 
time." In this gem the poet represents himself on his 
horse galloping to the distant city. His imagination 
carries him back to the time of the conquistadores who 
first planted the cross on that spot to the amazement 
of the aborigines. Then he invites the Muse to listen 
to the resounding blows of the pioneers' axes as they clear 
the forest and build their homes; to watch the bull breaking 
the black soil to receive the grain brought from beyond 
the seas; to observe the other domestic animals; to con- 
sider the Spanish woman who brought with her as a re- 
minder of her homeland the seeds of the flowers whose 
beauty and fragrance now delight the senses; to admire, 
when the bell calls to prayer, the holy ardor of Christ's 
disciples who have penetrated the most distant parts of 
the new world. 

But, though the great Spanish critic may have admired 
Ortiz' descriptive verses, his countrymen preferred those 
with the Tyrtaean note. It is related that one evening he 
nearly started a riot by the recitation of his stirring lines. 
The special object of his admiration was Bolivar. In his 
boyhood he had seen the great man and had been a childish 
witness of the armies that fought the battle of Boyaca 
in his native province. To that battle he dedicated an 
ode which for patriotic inspiration will bear comparison 
with Olmedo's verses. When at seventy years of age 
Ortiz was one of the few living contemporaries of that 
victory, he wrote his greatest ode Colombia y Espana in 
which he compares Columbus and Bolivar. If the one 
discovered a world the other freed it from the yoke of 
tyranny. The memory of the champion of liberty gives 


consolation to the poet in the midst of the civil discords 
in which he lives. 

Ortiz' influence as a man, apart from his poems, was 
considerable. He opened a school in 1852 that became a 
center for the cherishing of literature and culture. Four 
years later he successfully promoted the establishment 
of a literary society. El Liceo Granadino. He also took 
part in the protest against the expulsion of the Jesuits, 
that event which stirred Colombian society to its very 
depths in 1863. A pamphlet of his on this topic was sold 
in the unprecedented quantity of four thousand copies in 
Bogota. Throughout his long life as a journalist and 
educator, his own writings and the editing of those of 
others, such as the poems of J. E. Caro and the revolu- 
tionary Vargas Tejada and the compilation of school 
textbooks in literature kept his name ever before the 

The year 1854 may be taken to fix the period of greatest 
literary activity in Colombia. Poetry did not alone claim 
attention in this decade, but there were representations 
of original dramas and an important development in the 
publication of Hterary journals. The latter opened a 
field for the production of novels and tales. 

Of dramas the authors most worthy of mention were 
the brothers Felipe and Santiago Perez, Jose Caicedo 
Rojas, and Jose M. Samper. Their writings, however, 
were not limited to the theater but appeared in both prose 
and verse in periodicals or daily papers. Felipe Perez 
being interested in the early history of South America 
dramatized the story of Gonzalo Pizarro in five acts, and 
retold as tales the story of both Pizarros and that of 


Atahualpa. Santiago Perez, who later became president 
of the republic in 1874, turned to European history for 
the matter of his historical dramas Jacobo Molay and El 
Castillo de Berkley and his legend Leonor. Spanish history 
on the other hand was the inspiration of Miguel Cervantes 
and Celos, amor y amhicion by J. Caicedo Rojas and of 
his historical romance Don Alvaro. Caicedo Rojas also 
published a volume of descriptive articles of manners, 
Apuntes de Rancheria, which met with some success. 

Jose Maria Samper (1828-98) devoted his attention 
more to his native country. He is perhaps Colombia's 
most prolific writer in many lines of literary endeavor. 
Seven of his dramatical pieces were produced in Bogota 
in the years 1856 and 57. Of these the most successful 
was Un Alcalde a la antigua y Dos Primos a la moderna, 
a comedy of national manners. In 1858 Samper went 
to Europe in a diplomatic capacity where he remained 
five years, returning to Colombia after a visit in Lima. 
Many years later he put into a novel, Los Claveles de 
Julia, his memories of that capital. After his return to 
Bogota he wrote a novel about every four years, beginning 
with Martin Florez, 1866. The dramatic element and 
the dialogue is the strongest part of his tales as the de- 
scription of places and persons is prolix. To the study 
of Colombian history Samper performed a real service 
by publishing a series of sketches of notable compatriots. 
Toward the end of his life he made quite a sensation by 
publicly renouncing his views as a freethinker and em- 
bracing Catholicism. The book which he made out of 
his profession, Historia de una Alma, is packed with in- 
teresting personal and social reminiscences. Samper's 


journalistic work was perhaps the most extensive of his 
contemporaries. At one time he carried on a periodical 
with the sole assistance of his talented wife, Dona Soledad 

To her we owe an interesting account of the methods 
employed by the contributors to the Mosaico, the most 
important literary journal of the golden decade of the 
fifties. Beside her husband and Caicedo Rojas, they were 
Jose Joaquin Borda (1835-78), to whose constant activity 
in promoting literary magazines Colombia remains in debt; 
Ricardo Carrasquilla (1827-87), schoolmaster and poet; 
Eugenio Diaz (1804-61), writer of realistic tales; and J. M. 
Vergara y Vergara (1831-72), lover of letters. She makes 
the very illuminating remark, "We edited the Mosaico 
to amuse ourselves without considering the public." But 
the magazine to which she contributed this article. El 
Papel Periodico Ilustrado, beginning publication in 1881, 
did take the public very much into consideration because 
it was the first illustrated periodical on an elaborate 
scale, printed in Colombia. 

In regard to Jose Maria Vergara y Vergara it has been 
said that, "whoever makes a formal study of Colombian 
letters will find his name somehow connected with most 
of the publications of his epoch and will see his enthusiasm 
for stimulating and sustaining the literary aspirations of 
friends and strangers." ^ Of his own writings the most 
important is his Historia de la Literatura en Nueva Granada 
desde la conquista hasta la independenciay 1^^8-1820, pub- 
lished in 1867. As a compiler of poems he rendered a 
service in La Lira granadina, coleccioii de poesias nacion- 
^ I. Laverde Amaya, Apuntes sobre Bibliografia colombiana. 


ales. His own verses, though he wrote with great ease 
and was famous as an improviser, were slight. Little 
more can be said of the tale, Olivos y Aceitunas, Todos 
son unos. 

But he discovered the talent of Eugenio Diaz, the most 
realistic of Colombian novelists and writers of articles on 
manners. Bom in 1804, he was over forty years of age 
before he began to write. Having been a small farmer 
he brought to his work an intimate knowledge of the 
types that he depicted. His longest tale, a real master- 
piece of characterization, was Manuela. The heroine 
is the keeper of a small provision store through which 
pass all the interesting individuals of the town and where 
their affairs are thoroughly discussed. 

Vergara, on his trip to Europe, made numerous friends 
and brought back to Bogota authorization for himself, 
Jose Maria Marroquin, and Miguel Antonio Caro to form 
an Academy allied to the Spanish Academy. Marroquin 
was a popular schoolmaster, author of works on Castilian 
spelling, and a poet whose verses were favorites on account 
of their humor. M. A. Caro (i 843-1909), though but 
twenty-seven years of age at the time, was noted for his 
learning. He was the oldest son of J. E. Caro to whose 
famous poem blessing his firstborn before birth we 
have already alluded. The father, had he lived, would 
not have been disappointed in the son for he became 
Colombia's most learned man and president of the re- 
public. His greatest service to Colombian letters was 
the preparation of an edition of Arboleda's poems which 
included the inedited epic Gonzalo de Oyon. Miguel 
A. Caro's own poems were somewhat coldly classical in 


form and idea. Nevertheless two of them are well known 
and liked, La Vuelta a la Patria and A la Estatua del 
Libertador. The latter is a presentation of the moral 
character of Bolivar, accomplished in part by incorporat- 
ing in the poem certain historical sayings of the Liberator, 
such as: — "Who knows whether I have ploughed on the 
sea and built on the wind,'* and, "Perhaps the curses of 
a hundred generations will fall on me, unfortunate author 
of so many ills!" These sublime doubts, says the poet, 
have been expressed by the sculptor who wrought the 
great statue of the Liberator in the main square of Bogota. 

The Vuelta a la Patria expresses in sweetly melancholy 
fashion the idea that the sight of his old home does not 
satisfy the longings of the pilgrim because his true home 
lies beyond the term of this life. The Spanish critic 
Valera thinks that, "Everything in this composition, in 
which there are more sentiments and ideas than words, 
make it a perfect model of sentimental poetry in any 
language." ^ 

Reference has been made to Ricardo Carrasquilla. He 
was a well-beloved schoolmaster who delighted his pupils 
by jocose verses on homely topics. His lines on Las 
Fiestas en Bogota are called "a real photograph of what 
our popular festivals are." But more important for his 
contemporaries were such tracts on the religious question 
as Sofismas anti-catolicos vistos con microscopio. 

The mention of writings of this character would seem 

to lie outside our limits, but in studying the history of 

Colombia whether literary or political, it is impossible 

to ignore the religious question. The liberal party that 

* J. Valera, Cartas americanas. 


came into power in 1849 were dominated by the theories 
of French freethinkers. Though their action in expelling 
the Jesuits was resented and they fell from power, they 
were successful in 1861 in setting up a new constitution 
which enabled them to disestablish the Church, disfran- 
chise the clergy, and confiscate the property of the con- 
vents. It is natural then that such profound changes 
emanating from radical principles should have echoes 
in literature which is not in itself controversial. Hence 
arises the significance of the great amount of religious 

As a controversialist for the conservatives nobody was 
more active than the Manuel Maria Madiedo (1817- 
00), whose writings include whole volumes on social 
science, logic and law. A very learned man and acquainted 
with the whole range of European philosophy, he devoted 
his intelligence to the defense of the Christian religion. 
Many of the poems in his volume of collected verse pub- 
lished in 1859 preach the mission of Christ. As a poet, 
however, Madiedo is more generally known for his lines 
descriptive of the great river Magdalena, "a picture 
taken from nature, where primitive man rules, free and 
strong, but struggling with natural forces terribly power- 
ful, beautiful, and rebellious." With equal enthusiasm 
Madiedo also depicted his native city Cartagena and the 
ocean before her walls. A series of poems with strongly 
patriotic note on Bolivar, Sucre, Ayacucho, and America 
likewise came from his pen. Dramas he wrote in his youth, 
and at the age of nineteen had a tragedy, entitled Lucrecia 
Roma lihre, produced in Bogota. To the end of his 
long life he contributed to the press of Colombia. 


Contrasted with Madiedo may be Rafael Nunez (1825- 
94), a man of action and yet a poet. For twenty years 
he dominated the political situation in Colombia, being 
at times both president and dictator. As a young man 
he was the secretary of General Mosquera, the leader of 
the liberal party and dictator in 1861. From this period 
dates Nunez' poem with the title dQue sais-je?, one of the 
most skeptical bits of verse ever written. Everywhere 
the poet finds the good and the bad so inextricably mingled 
that he cannot separate them. Every object in the world 
has its good and its evil side. Sometimes innocence and 
candor are malignity, prudence is daring, impiety piety. 
In another skeptical poem Nuiiez compares himself with 
the Dead Sea; his illusions and pleasures are the cities 
which God destroyed. 

From this attitude of mind Nunez traveled very far 
before his death. Sent to England as Colombian consul 
in Liverpool, he absorbed many English ideas regarding 
the functions of government. In 1878 he became President 
of the Senate and two years later President of Colombia. 
He adapted his English ideas to the conditions of his 
country. His ideal seemed to be an oligarchy as set forth 
in his book La Reforma politica en Colombia. His model 
was Moses if we can trust his poem on the Hebrew law- 
giver. At any rate, he brought about many needed re- 
forms in Colombia laid waste by anarchy. To combat 
it, he protected the clergy, restored them to the rights 
of which his own liberal party had deprived them and 
ordered religion to be taught in the schools for the pur- 
pose of inculcating respect for authority. The civil power 
was strengthened by his new constitution of 1885, for the 


term of office for the president was increased to six years. 
With vice presidents of his own creation, he then held 
the position till his death. 

While Nunez' philosophical verses reveal him as a 
skeptic, the poems of Diego Fallon (1834-190!;), present 
the ancient faith in accord with modem geological knowl- 
edge. There is something of the Celtic imagination, due 
undoubtedly to his parentage, in the originality of his con- 
ceptions. Perhaps also his English education had its 
influence just as his expert attainments as a musician are 
revealed in the rhythmical beauty of his lines. At once 
the most striking and original of his poems is Las Rocas de 
Suesca. The poet finds himself among these gigantic 
rocks overhearing the confidences of Miocene and Pliocene 
till their chatter is interrupted by Siluria the elder. She 
at his request relates her own creation. Another poem, 
J la Luna, depicts the beauty of the tropical moonlight on 
the slope of the Andes. The silence leads him to think 
of God, to feel that his soul is merely a prisoner of the 
flesh, while the moon reminds him of its divine mission. 
Fallon's skill in difficult and intricate meter is displayed 
in La Palma del Desierto, in which he philosophizes about 
the barren desert and the strange power of the palm tree 
to withstand the heat of the sun and the tree's service 
to man. While the quantity of Fallon's verses is not 
great, their quality places him in the front rank of Colom- 
bian poets. 

And the main body of Colombian poets with an individ- 
ual note is fairly numerous. Joaquin Pablo Posada 
(1825-80), for example, had an astounding facility in 
handling language, though his compositions were limited 


to jocose or satirical matter. Even on his deathbed he 
dictated as gay a parting letter in verse to a friend as any 
that he had ever written when begging for a little loan of 
money to tide him over a hard place. A poet who knew 
how to hit the popular taste was Jose Maria Pinzon Rico. 
His erotic tendencies appear in the poem usually given in 
anthologies El Despertar de Addn though the intention 
of the verses is praise of God. A very prolific versifier 
was Cesar Conto (1836-91). His original pieces are not 
so valuable as his translations from German and English. 
Of the latter the most praiseworthy is perhaps Long- 
fellow's Psalm of Life. For religious intensity and force 
the lines of Mario Valenzuela, a member of the Society of 
Jesus, should be mentioned. An attractive poem, Tu 
triunfastey describes the appearance of a beautiful woman 
riding on horseback, and again at a dancing party; on 
neither occasion, however, did she make an impression on 
the writer's heart: but when he saw her as a sister of 
charity ministering to the sick, he quite succumbed. 

A leader of this flight of poets, surpassing them, both 
in versatility and in technical skill, was Rafael Pombo 
(i 833-191 2). He began his literary career at the age of 
twenty by a mystification of the public in giving out a 
series of verses entitled Mi Amor signed " Edda," which 
led readers to believe that they were perusing the erotic 
confessions of a lovesick damsel. In 1854 he was sent to 
New York as secretary of the Colombian legation where he 
remained five years. He so successfully mastered the 
English language that poems of his in English were pub- 
lished by Bryant in the New York Evening Post. Of his 
sojourn his poems have many recollections. Las Norte- 


americanas en Broadway reveals the young man beneath 
the portico of the Saint Nicolas Hotel admiring the 
throng of passing beauties. Though he pays his com- 
pliments to the various Spanish-American types, he is be- 
witched by the brilliance of the New Yorkers' eyes and the 
crimson of their cheeks. But "woe to him who sees the 
fascinating army!" Their hearts, like the swirling water 
of Niagara, are cruel, insatiable and cold. On his sen- 
sitive soul the sudden death of a young girl, Elvira Tracy, 
with whom he had been at church, made such an impression 
that his poem on her last words, "The mass is over; come, 
come, let us go home!" possesses unusual intensity of 
feeling. For that reason it is a classic expression of the 
uncertainty of human life. 

Of totally different character are Cuentos pintados and 
Cuentos morales, many of which are said to be known by 
heart by children. After his return to Colombia, Pombo 
was interested for several years in popular education and 
in the publication of an educational journal. Of a popular 
type also are a series of quatrains written to be sung to 
the music of the national air. El Bambuco. 

About this song, J. M. Samper has written the follow- 
ing: "Nothing more national and patriotic than this 
melody which has for authors all Colombians: it vibrates 
as the echo of millions of accents, it laments with all 
lamentations, it laughs with all the laughter of the coun- 
try. It is the evocation of our moonlit nights and our 
days of happiness. It is the companion that animates 
our weddings, that enlivens our sentimental ceremonies. 
It is the soul of our people turned into melody." 

Pombo's maturer lines belong to the elegiac type, and 


are written with great depth of feeHng. A rather long 
poem, Angelina, after relating the death of a young girl 
of fifteen with emphasis on the grief of her mother and 
little brother, passes to reflections on love and grief. In 
them the poet finds symbolized the struggle between our 
higher and lower natures. In "love and grief, there is 
Christ, there is God." When Pombo revisited the United 
States and again stood before the falls of Niagara, he was 
stirred to write some verses in "contemplation." The 
greatness of God is the main thought with which the 
sight inspires him. When he seeks for the terror felt by 
the Cuban poet Heredia, he finds it not; for the very worst 
that Nature can do to human kind, to serve for a tomb, 
is in reality a good. On the contrary, man is the monster 
who disturbs this earthly paradise. As for the falling 
waters, though they send forth a hymn of strength and 
life, his soul has no enthusiasm left to sing them because 
life is a sarcasm. 

Poets of a younger generation than Pombo, such as 
Antonio Gomez Restrepo (b. 1869), Diego Uribe (b. 
1867), Joaquin Gonzalez Camargo (b. 1865), naturally 
show the influence of contemporary literature. To the 
latter J. Valera paid the unusual compliment of saying 
that his becquerista verses pleased him even better than 
those of Becquer or Heine. 

No account of Colombian literature would be com- 
plete without mention of a few of the many female poets 
and writers who have graced their country. Their promi- 
nence is partly due to the fact that in the population of 
Colombia women greatly outnumber men, in some towns, 
according to a recent census, in the proportion of three 


men to four women, as a result of the numerous civil wars 
which have ravaged the republic. The Christian resigna- 
tion required of women in such a state of affairs is clearly 
reflected in their verses. 

For the religious tone of her poems expressed in fluent 
language Dona Silveria Espinosa de Rendon (?-i886), 
was one of the first to attract attention. Though she 
essayed with some success the patriotic lyric, the majority 
of her verses celebrate the glories of the Cross, the virtues 
of Mary and the joys of friendship. 

In descriptive poetry too, so far as it deals with the 
famous falls of the Tequendama, a woman, in Valera's 
opinion, has excelled her numerous competitors both 
native and foreign. Therefore, Doiia Agripina Montes 
del Valle should be acclaimed the "Muse of the Tequen- 
dama." The superiority of her lines arises not alone from 
the wealth of color and the minuteness of the description 
but from the fact that at the background of the picture 
the reader sees the poetess herself. "The depression which 
possesses her spirit in the presence of such a grand scene 
makes one form a better conception of its magnificence." 
Dofia Agripina gathered poetic laurels also outside of 
Colombia, for she won a gold medal for a poem offered in 
a Chilean competition in 1872. 

The theme of love treated with deep emotion and sin- 
cerity fills the verses of Dona Mercedes Alvarez de Florez 
(b. 1859). They render the story of her courtship and 
marriage to Leonidas Florez (1859-87), himself a poet. 
As they were poor, their parents opposed their union. 
After their marriage, she has given a poetic record of her 
moods. Matrimony has chains, yes; but they are golden, 


let her kiss them. At times she is jealous of her husband 
for she knows he lies awake at night, with thoughts which 
are not of her but of his ambition. Seek not riches, she 
urges him, let her whisperings suffice at night. When he 
fell sick at the age of twenty-four, her heart cries out that 
they are too young to separate. He should struggle 
against death by drawing strength from her kisses. To 
God she prays not to "snatch from my heaven this bright 
star which thine does not need! Listen. In his delirium, 
he says that he loves me so much, that he does not wish 
to die!" 

Of Doiia Soledad Acosta de Samper (1831-1913), wife 
of J. M. Samper, mention has already been made. Her 
literary interests covered many fields though her specialty 
was the historical or biographical article, for which she 
inherited a natural aptitude from her father, the historian 
Joaquin Acosta. Her most original effort was the pub- 
lication of a periodical for women. La Mujer, which ap- 
pe ared from 1878 to 1881. 
r 'in the matter of novels it has fallen to the fortune of 
Colombia to send forth the most widely read work of 
fiction of any written by a Spanish American, one of the 
very few which have been translated into French and 
English, the idyllic romance, Maria by Jorge Isaacs. 
Perhaps its popularity proves it to be the representative 
Spanish-American novel. At any rate it presents an un- 
matched picture of home Hfe in Colombia. Its characters 
are true to life. Its landscapes exist in the valley of the 
Cauca where its author was born. 

The plot is simple. Efrain, a boy of twenty, returns 
home after an absence of several years. He finds that 


Maria, his father's ward and the playmate of his child- 
hood, is now in the first beauty of young womanhood at 
fifteen. They fall in love. The father, not wholly op- 
posed to the match, wishes the boy to delay marriage, 
first, that he may study medicine in Europe, and second, 
because Maria has shown symptoms of epilepsy, a dis- 
ease of which her mother died. Efrain yields to his 
father's desires and prepares to leave for Europe. 
Before his departure, however, Maria and he are be- 
trothed. After he is gone, Maria's malady becomes 
worse and she imagines that only his return will save;:? 
her life. Efrain is sent for, but when he reaches h^pt{e 
Maria is dead. ^^ 

The interest lies in the incidents by which the characters 
of the leading personages are revealed and in the details 
of home life in the mountains of Colombia. What in- 
tensity of passion is displayed over trifles! Efrain, for 
example, had brought home some mountain lilies as a 
present to Maria, but when he notices that she has neg- 
lected to observe her custom of placing fresh flowers in 
his room during his absence, he petulantly throws his 
intended gift out of the window. Maria, finding the 
flowers, understands and makes amends by wearing one 
of the lilies to the evening meal. It is not surprising then, 
that the same Efrain should urge his horse at the risk of 
his own life into a stream swollen with tropical rain, as 
he rides three leagues through the night to get a physician 
to attend Maria. 

Strange details of real life constantly entertain and 
charm the reader. Though Efrain's father is the pro- 
prietor of a vast estate, he is not unwilling to attend the 


wedding of a negro slave and dance with the bride. When 
Efrain visits the home of a certain white tenant, he is 
honored by being provided with the only knife and fork 
in the house, and again at his morning ablutions by the 
zealous production from its precious box of the family's 
one treasured towel. A striking episode is a jaguar hunt, 
in which Efrain's English cartridges and unerring aim 
save the life of the mountaineer Braulio. This man is 
something of a wag, for when a young visitor from the 
city makes fun of his dogs, Braulio takes revenge in an 
original manner. He sees to it that there are no bullets 
in the smarty's gun and then drives a fine buck by his 
stand in the hunt. The callow youth is mortified to miss 
so easy a shot before his friends. In Efrain's home, the 
details of the daily routine in which appear his father, his 
mother, his sister Emma, and Maria form an exquisite 
idyllic picture. To relate them all would, in the words 
of Vergara in his preface to the first edition of 1867, 
"necessitate writing another Maria.''* 
Jl^ The author of this romance, Jorge Isaacs (1837-95) was 
' the son of an English Jew domiciled in Cali in the valley 
of the Cauca. It was in this region that the civil war of 
1862 raged with special intensity. In consequence of it 
his property gone and left an orphan, the young man 
emigrated to Bogota. In 1865 he published a volume of 
verses which received more attention after the appearance 
of Maria, 1867. The success of the novel was immediate. 
His reward was an appointment to a diplomatic post in 
Chile where his fame as a literary man assisted in prepar- 
ing for him a warm welcome. In time political changes 
at home brought about his retirement. Again in Bogota 


he was not successful in business, and the latter years of 
his life were passed in great want. 

Later novels in Colombia follow the example of Isaacs 
in his nationalistic tendency, though few deserve mention. 
Frutosdemi TiVrr^, published 1896 byTomasCarrasquilla, 
is a fair sample of the type consisting of a series of sketches 
of manners strung together on a thin plot. 

Of greater literary value is Pax by Lorenzo Marroquin 
which recently created a storm of indignation because 
certain politicians believed they had been caricatured. 
At any rate the author has pilloried the plague of politics 
which besets Colombia. The personages and the inci- 
dents of the novel give the reader an unusual insight into 
the character of a perplexing country. 

>f scholars Colombia has produced several of whom 
she may well be proud. The most important historian 
is Jose Manuel Restrepo (1782-1863) whose Historia de 
la Revolucion de la Republica de Colombia, originally pub- 
lished in 1827 and enlarged in 1858, is the fascinating nar- 
^rative of a participant and eyewitness. 

J. M. Torres Caicedo deserves the praise and thanks 
of everybody interested in Spanish-American literature. 
His Ensayos biogrdficos y de Critica literaria in three vol- 
umes, 1863 and 1868, was the first attempt to treat the 
whole field and is still invaluable. 

The name of Rufino Jose Cuervo (1844-1911) is familiar 
to many otherwise ignorant of Colombian writers, on 
account of his services to the grammatical and lexico- 
graphic studies of the Spanish language given to the world 
in his notes to Bello's Grammar and in his Apuntaciones 
criticas sobre el Lenguaje bogotano. The latter is the basis 


of all the many studies which have, since its publication, 
been made of the changes undergone by Castilian in 
America. The study of the language was a cult with 
Cuervo who lived for long years in Paris a bookish recluse. 
His house was a shrine to be visited by Spanish Americans 
pretending to a love of letters. 

To the modernista movement of recent years Colombia 
had the honor of contributing Jose Asuncion Silva (1860- 
96). Though contemporary to its inception, Silva's in- 
ventions and experiments in rhythm were eagerly taken 
up by others who made them widely known. At the same 
time the music of his lines, their originality of conception, 
their intimate reflection of an artist's personality have 
made his poems worthy to rank with the best productions 
of the modernista school. Through them Silva has done 
his part in sustaining the reputation which Colombia 
has long enjoyed for the high quality of the poetry written 
by her sons. 



Literature in Venezuela reflects the progress of its 
people toward a higher state of culture. During the 
colonial period perhaps the most backward of the Spanish 
colonies, it suff^ered acutely from the Spanish policy of 
maintaining the Creoles in ignorance. An evidence of 
this is the fact that there was no printing press in the 
colony until one was brought there by the revolutionist 
Francisco Miranda in 1806 as an auxiliary weapon against 
the Spaniards. Among Miranda's two hundred foreign 
volunteers were two typesetters who printed on October 24, 
1806, the first number of La Gaceta de Caracas, This was 
the first of the many periodicals that have since offered 
their welcoming pages to Venezuelan writers. 

The influence of the press must not be overlooked in a 
study of their literary production. Without a public 
to encourage an author by the purchase of his books, 
the only channel for the dissemination of his ideas was 
the periodical. Though the early journals were almost 
wholly political, the literary section soon became impor- 
tant. In time periodicals devoted mainly to letters were 

In point of time the earliest Venezuelan to achieve 
fame as an author was Andres Bello, who wrote his first 
poems before leaving the country on his political mission 



to England. As he never returned to the land of his birth 
but produced his most influential work in Chile, he may 
best be considered as an adopted son of that land. Bello*s 
Venezuelan poems were either translations or imitations 
of Virgil and Horace. 

They were written during the period of his social inter- 
course with the brothers Luis and Franciso Javier Us- 
tariz, who maintained in their house a sort of literary 
society. The literary exercises of their coterie, of Miguel 
Jose Sanz and Jose Luis Ramos, written in the most frigid 
classical manner, were slight and have been forgotten. 

After Bello the Venezuelan of widest reputation in 
letters is Rafael Maria Barak (1810-60). His youth and 
his family connections having thrown him in the way of 
learning much about the history of his country, he was 
inspired to write his Historia Antigua y Moderna de Vene- 
zuela. In order to print this work he went to Paris in 
1 841 and two years later took up his residence definitely 
in Madrid. He became one of the literar^^ lights of the 
capital, was elected a member of the Spanish Academy, 
and appointed director of the government printing office 
and editor of the official gazette. In addition to his other 
labors he rendered a real service to the lexicography of 
the Spanish language by compiling a Diccionario de Gali- 
cismos, 1855. 

As a poet Baralt followed closely the classical tradition. 
His desire to combat the extravagances of the romantic 
school led him often into the archaic and the obscure. 
His sonnets and odes were written on such topics as La 
Anunciaciouy A Espana^ AdiSs a la Patrta, A Colon. 

The ode to Columbus is a masterpiece. The poet ad- 


dresses the great mariner as if trying to warn him against 
his contemplated journey to the West. "Dost not see 
that ocean, man, and sky oppose?" The results of the 
venture will be a new world filled with such marvels as 
the river Amazon, the Andes, the condor, the wealth of 
the Incas. The King of Portugal lost his opportunity, 
but Isabella turned her jewels into empires. As a reward 
for the navigator King Ferdinand's crown would scarcely 
be sufficient. What he will receive beside the palm of 
triumph is nothing but vile chains. His real reward will 
be the grateful esteem of the new world. The artistic 
workmanship of this ode merits a permanent place in 
Spanish literature for Barak. 

Of the same age was Fermin Toro (1807-65). He was a 
politician from boyhood, gifted with notable ability as 
an orator. At the age of twenty-five he went to London 
as secretary to the legation of Venezuela. After his return, 
though employed by the government in various capacities, 
he took an active interest in furthering the cause of educa- 
tion. In 1846 he was sent to Europe as minister pleni- 
potentiary in Great Britain, France and Spain. From 
the latter he obtained a ratification of the treaty con- 
firming the independence of Venezuela. The following 
year there occurred a revolution which retired him to 
private life for ten years. Then he was again sent to 
negotiate treaties with Spain and Italy. 

Actively participating in the life of his time, Toro's 
literary work has two diverse aspects. To his friends 
of the classical school he offered the Silva a la Zona tor- 
rida and the conceits of Anacreontics like La Ninfa del 
Anauco. For the romanticists he pointed out a new field, 


the aborigines of Venezuela, whose fate at the cruel hands 
of the Spanish conquerors he lamented in a series of frag- 
mentary elegies entitled Hecatonfonia, In the romantic 
manner also he wrote the tales, La Viuda de Corinto, 
and los Martires. The latter is a story of the un-Christian 
charity with which an unfortunate woman in London 
may be treated by a class of society that prides itself 
on being the most cultured in the world. 

The romantic movement of European literature had its 
followers in Venezuela, where it may be considered in 
full swing at the time of the arrival in that country as 
Spanish minister of Jose Heriberto Garcia de Quevedo 
(i 8 19-71). Coming with the prestige of being the col- 
laborator of the Spanish poet Zorrilla as well as the author 
of poems, plays and novels of his own invention, he was 
warmly received in Caracas and claimed by the Venezue- 
lans as a native son. As a matter of fact he was six years 
old when he was taken by his tory father to the island 
of Puerto Rico and later to Spain where he was educated 
and continued to live. His sojourn in Venezuela lasted 
but a few months, so, whatever his influence in promoting 
the Zorrillan legend, the story of his literary labors belongs 
more properly to Castilian literature. 

On the other hand, Jose Antonio Maitin (1804-74) and 
Abigail Lozano (1823-66) were the standard bearers of 
romanticism in their land and both were widely read 
throughout Spanish America. The former sought his 
inspiration in the luxuriance of the nature about him; 
while the latter was more popular among his countrymen 
because he wrote heroic verses full of lyric movement and 
enthusiasm for the national heroes. But Lozano is well- 


nigh forgotten now, whereas the personality of "the 
poet of the Choroni," as Maitin was called, still lives in 
his verses redolent of the damp American forest. 

The exact date of Maitin's birth is uncertain, but he 
was old enough to remember his family's flight to Cuba 
from the revolution in 181 2. He returned to Venezuela, 
however, and from 1824 to 1826 was an attache of the 
legation in London, where he must have come into con- 
tact with Andres Bello and Fernandez Madrid. His 
verses certainly show first-hand acquaintance with the 
English romantic poets. Like the Lake Poets, he pre- 
ferred to spend his life in the country on his estate in the 
vale of the river Choroni. There amid the perfume of 
the tropical flowers we may lie with him in the shade 
listening to the song of strange birds or watch the changing 
colors of the sunset. We may fish with him or read Lamar- 
tine at will. At night we may breathe the odors that dis- 
till through the brilliant moonlight. From such natural 
objects, Maitin, like a true romanticist, pretended to seek 
consolation from the deceit of men. His wife's death 
gave an opportunity to add sincerity of feeling to the 
romantic pose. In a Canto funehre the usual classical 
expressions receive a domestic touch when the poet refers 
to the disarranged chairs of his home, the dust that lies 
thick on the furniture, and the lady's sewing with the 
needle still in the unfinished work. 

Maitin's narrative poems also have their admirers. 
El Mascara relates the story of a thief who gains admission 
to the home of a wealthy widow by courting her daughter. 
One night, instead of leaving the house, he hides in a 
corridor until the lady retires. Then entering her bed- 


room he demands her jewels as the price of her life. The 
wily widow, however, succeeds in trapping the intruder 
and securing his arrest before he leaves the house. Another 
tale in verse, El Sereno, introduces the reader to an indi- 
vidual who has become a policeman in order to occupy 
his mind and assuage his grief at the loss of a bride taken 
from him on his wedding night. The policeman invites 
a chance stranger to see the sights of the town with him. 
They see a lover lamenting the scorn of a lady who has 
jilted him. They converse with an old beggar beneath 
the window of the hard-hearted master who had turned 
him out when incapacitated by old age. They address 
an insane woman who had lost her reason when aban- 
doned by a faithless lover. She recognizes the police- 
man's companion as her perfidious seducer. The latter 
oflFers his dagger to the policeman requesting him to put 
an end to his existence. Since the woman was the bride 
of his sorrow, the policeman is rendered nearly frantic 
by the stranger's act admitting his identity. But he 
restrains his impulse to comply with the request to slay. 
Instead he pardons the sinner and prays Heaven to do 

Such are the rather bizarre legends of Maitin. His 
political poems, overloaded with metaphor and hyperbole, 
were not very successful either. On the other hand the 
lyrics are still readable of the poet who sang, 

A las orillas del rio Choroni. 

His younger contemporary, Abigail Lozano, the virile 
poet with the feminine name, owed his really great popu- 
larity to his patriotic verses. His lines to the national 


hero, Bolivar, were admired even in Spain. For a short 
time his talents were used by the editor of a political jour- 
nal, El Venezolano, but Lozano soon withdrew his services 
and established a literary magazine. El Album. About 
1846 he collected his verses in a volume entitled Horas de 
Martirio. The romantic pose assumed in these composi- 
tions, mainly on the theme of love, is well indicated by 
the title. They are wordy and extravagant but attractive 
on account of a certain novelty of metaphor and a splendid 
coloring. In 1864 he published a second volume, Otras 
Horas de Martirio. These poems were written during 
a more active participation in politics, for he joined the 
opponents of Monagas and after their success held some 
political offices. 

Another important member of the group of Venezuelan 
romantic poets was Jose Antonio Calcano (1827-97), ^^ 
of whom his compatriots were fond of saying that he be- 
longed to a family of nightingales. He, however, was the 
poet, while his brother Eduardo was primarily an orator 
and Julio a critic and novelist. The saying arose un- 
doubtedly from the conspicuous fluidity of his lines and 
the ease with which he essayed various styles in imitation 
of Leopardi, Lamartine, Hugo, Byron and Zorrilla. His 
Silva a la Academia espaiiola was written in the strictest 
classical style. On the other hand, the major part of his 
poems are filled with romantic regrets and bitterness of 
heart. A Orillas del Tamaira offers a series of pictures 
taken from the memories of his childhood accompanied 
with repining at their inevitable loss. Thus the poet runs 
the gamut of the romantic emotions; homesickness in 
La Sahoyana, the disillusion of the world in Amor e Inocen- 


cia, the torturing doubts of a jealous lover in El CipreSy 
the desire for rest from his sorrows in La Muerte. The 
attraction of many of his poems lies in the delicacy with 
which he evokes images of the Venezuelan landscape. 
In this regard should be mentioned La Maga y el Genio 
de las SelvaSy La Flor del Tahaco, and especially La Hoja 
to which the saying about the nightingale might well 
apply, to judge by the following lines. The poet describes 
the place where he received the first kiss of a childhood 

Nos saludaron mirtos y palmas; 

su frente al sauce doblar mire; 

a augurar dichas a muestras almas 

canto en las ceibas el Dios-te-de. 

Hizonos toldo, fresco y sombrio, 
con sus ramajes el cafetal; 
epitalamio nos hizo el rio: 
canto las nupcias un cardinal. 

The lyrical quality of these lines will appeal even to 
those who must be told that the ceiba is a giant tree, one 
of the most conspicuous in the Venezuelan landscape, 
while the cardinal is famous for the brilliance of its plu- 
mage and the Dios-te-de owes its onomato-poetic name to 
its song. 

The poetic possibilities of the country were being taught 
at this time by Juan Vicente Gonzalez (1808-66) both 
by precept and practice. He was not a versifier but a 
voluminous writer on the history of his native country. 
Possessed of a remarkable intellect fertile in ideas, his 
influence on his contemporaries was considerable. Beside 
his Manual de Historia universal^ his most important 


book from a national point of view was his Mesenianas, 
a series of prose elegies written in a florid oratorical and 
romantic style on men who had died for their country. 
To Gonzalez is attributed by Picon Febres the initiative 
of a truly national literature through his propaganda in 
favor of nationalizing it. 

The interesting personality of the man is well illustrated 
by the following anecdote. A large fat man, he was 
ridiculed for his weak feminine voice, though at the same 
time he was feared for his sharp tongue. Once in a public 
cafe he was approached by a certain general concerning 
whom he had written that the general had set fire to many 
towns and was the horror of the country. Facing Gon- 
zalez, the man demanded with threatening bluster: — 
"Why did you say that about me?" Gonzalez rose from 
his seat, "And you, who are you.?" "General Fulano," 
repHed the soldier. "Ah," replied Gonzalez flourishing 
his enormous cane, "I said it because it was the truth." 

Local color without special eflFort to obtain it abounds 
in the poems of Jose Ramon Yepes (1822-81). He was 
the son of an old family in Maracaibo. Showing a fondness 
for the sea, he entered the Venezuelan navy where he 
rapidly rose in rank because he showed great bravery in 
the factional fights in which the marine took part about 
1850. It seems strange that a seadog should write verses, 
but the man had a truly poetic faculty, and was dubbed 
by his acquaintances the "Swan of the Lake." To him 
the wind, the clouds, the color of the sea and sky mean 
more than to the ordinary sailor. In Las Nuhes he gave 
a record of the fancies with which their varying shapes 
inspired him, entirely pictorial and descriptive, and the 


only words of the poem which are subjective are the clos- 
ing lines, "I bless you, apparitions of Heaven." His 
fancy again ran riot in Las Orillas del Lago when he saw a 
child knock at the gate of the palace of the fairies. His 
experiences as a sailor he utilized in a marine ballad, Santa 
Rosa de Lima, relating a legend that she once appeared 
to some storm-tossed sailors who invoked her assistance 
and by casting roses on the troubled waters, rescued them. 
In La Golondrina after describing the swallow's flight he 
compared it to his own thoughts. To poems of a philo- 
sophical turn he was fond of giving the title Niehla. The 
prettiest of these is one written to comfort a mother whose 
little girl had just died. The poet represented the child 
contemplating a cloud and expressing a wish to be one; 
when the mother comes, the child's wish had been ful- 
filled. In the homelike character of his subjects Yepes 
resembles Longfellow just as his attitude toward nature 
and the lyric swing of his lines reminds the reader of 

Yepes also tried his hand at description of aboriginal 
life in a poem Los Hijos de Par ay aula and in two prose 
romances, Anaida and Iguaraya, in which Yepes appears 
to have taken Chateaubriand for a model. The most 
successful parts are the descriptions of tropical scenery. 

Though Yepes was more artistic in his criollo verse, 
Domingo Ramon Hernandez (1829-93) surpassed him in 
popularity with their fellow countrymen. His sentimental 
melancholy voiced Venezuelan feelings in such beautiful 
poems as his Canto de la Golondrina. It depicts the swal- 
low returning after a long absence to find that the nest- 
ing place which had been its cradle has beer» destroyed. 


Though it found another fine nest and enjoyed life greatly, 
it never met with the repose and contentment of its birth- 
place. Hernandez was a poet essentially romantic in 
sentiment unexcelled in true tenderness by any Vene- 
zuelan. The sorrows in which his verses abounded plainly 
sprang from the spectacle of human misery. 

The power of eloquent speech is nowhere greater than 
among Spanish Americans. The rhythmic flow of their 
vocalic language excites in them an aesthetic emotion 
incomprehensible to people of other races. To this psy- 
chological peculiarity has been ascribed the frequency of 
revolutions in some of the countries, especially Colombia. 
Would the facts of the following anecdote be possible in 
England or the United States? It is related of Cecilio 
Acosta (1831-81) that one day after he had delivered a 
speech in praise of the fine arts before the Academia de 
las Bellas Artes in Caracas, he was accompanied home by 
a crowd composed not only of enthusiastic students and 
ordinary persons but also of members of the society, the 
clergy and government officials. One of the latter, not a 
personal friend either, addressed Acosta*s mother in these 
terms: — "Seiiora, accept my most sincere congratulations 
because your son has just uttered the most eloquent 
discourse that I have ever heard.'* 

Acosta was an orator and learned lawyer, a clever 
journalist and a poet. His poems are not numerous, but 
he shows in the two best. La Casita blanca, and La Gota 
de Rocio, the same qualities that distinguished his prose. 
He was expert at developing an idea by repetition, in 
throwing about a common object the most brilliant back- 
ground of verbal images. His manner was distinctly 



original. The significance of it is not merely in the power 
of persuasion which he exercised over his audiences but 
also in the influence which his writings have had on younger 
men, orators, joumaHsts and poets. 

Another famous orator was Eduardo Calcano called 
by an admirer "the prince of the artists of speech." When 
Venezuelan minister to Spain his oratory was greatly 
praised by the press. Though author of some verses, 
such as his Balada indiana, he did not write so well as 
his brother Jose Antonio. 

Everybody familiar with classical Spanish plays knows 
the part played by the Andalusian gracioso. The ready 
quip and satirical comment were his stock in trade. In 
modern literature he is represented by the journalist that 
grinds out his daily article more or less funny according 
to circumstances. Of this type of humor Venezuelan 
literature can show as many successful examples as any 
other in Spanish America. Daniel Mendoza (1823-67) 
chose for the mouthpiece of his satire the "llanero" or 
cowboy from beyond the Orinoco who comes to Caracas 
and is amazed at the foolish expenditure of money by all 
classes in the capital. Nothing escapes his observation, 
neither the fashionable ladies nor the dandies, least of 
all the politicians. As a sample of his wit, take the fol- 

"I was saying, continued the doctor, that in that edifice 
are made our laws. — Caramba, Doctor, for such a little 
thing such an immense building!" 

Of these "costumbristas" a considerable list of names 
might be given. The value of what they have written 
is apparent to anybody in whose hands their articles have 


fallen, for in them the Venezuelan people live and think. 
If you wish to know how the buyer and seller plan to 
outwit each other with the advantage on the side of the 
seller, read Francisco de Sales Perez who flourished about 
1880, in the collected volume of his collected articles 
Ratos Perdidos. For amusing portraits of persons in the 
public eye, read Nicanor Bolet Peraza. Though these 
descriptions of manners are mainly in prose, examples in 
verse are not lacking. For that sort of writing, Aristo- 
phanic bitterness has been ascribed to J. M. Nunez de 

Pedro Jose Hernandez wrote his humorous sketches 
of manners in verse in the form of fables, of epistles to 
persons and of jocose sonnets. For example, one of the 
latter begins by describing a tumbledown cabin suggestive 
of the vanity of human affairs; but not in this lies the oc- 
cupant's sadness but in the fact that he owes a month's 
rent. Or coming along the street one beautiful Easter 
morning, everything contributed to his joy, even the 
finding of a coin at his feet. On picking it up, alas! it 
proved to be false. 

Nicanor Bolet Peraza (183 8-1906) became widely known 
through the fortunes of his political career. An opponent 
of Guzman Blanco he was obliged to live by means of 
journalistic work in the United States. As he was able 
to speak English his trenchant wit was in demand at ban- 
quets and other public occasions, so that for a time he was 
to North Americans a representative Spanish American. 
He used to urge his fellow countrymen to strive for the 
blessings of peace and industry, such as were enjoyed 
by the people of the United States. Besides his numerous 


journalistic articles both amusing and serious in character 
he wrote a play Luchas del Honor which was enthusias- 
tically received in Caracas. 

Antonio Guzman Blanco (1830-99), though he ruled 
Venezuela as a tyrant directly or through puppets for about 
twenty-five years, was a great civilizing force. He was 
able by rigorous measures to put an end to a long-standing 
anarchy in the country. He reestablished Venezuelan 
finances by the successful contraction of a loan in London 
and by rigid economies in the internal administration of 
the country. In the matter of education he wished for 
"a school in every street." Though his vanity made him 
somewhat ridiculous by reason of the many statues of 
himself which he erected, from 1872 on he brought a large 
measure of material prosperity to Venezuela. Under his 
regime literature flourished. During the seventies it was 
somewhat artificial in character, but with the introduction 
of liberal studies at the University of Caracas, and the 
teaching of the theory of evolution fostered by Guzman 
Blanco, the younger generation was able to comprehend 
and adapt the new tendencies in literature of which Zola 
and the naturalistic school were sponsors. 

In 1869 was established in Caracas the Academia de 
Ciencias sociales y de Bellas Letras which, to celebrate its 
foundation, offered a prize for an ode on La Libertad del 
Viejo Mundo. The title shows the trend which romanti- 
cism had taken under the leadership of Victor Hugo him- 
self. He developed and practiced the theory that lit- 
erature should place itself at the social service of mankind. 
Accordingly odes on abstract topics became the fashion. 
The first prize in the contest of the Academia was awarded 


to Heraclio de la Guardia (i 829-1907). Later he was pre- 
sented with a gold medal by the University of Caracas for 
an ode to science. The totality of Guardia's verses is 
large, but their tone is not so frigid as their titles would 
indicate. Like every Venezuelan poet he could sing the 
beauties of tropical nature. 

Another winner of academic poetry was Francisco 
Guaycaypuro Pardo (1829-82) whose odes, La Gloria del 
Libertadofy El Poder de la Idea and El Porvenir de America 
carried off prizes in the years 1872, '75 and '77. But 
Pardo, though not equalling the originality of Yepes, had 
something of the poetic feeling which distinguished the 
latter, "the swan of the lake." This is apparent in the 
descriptions of nature in Las Indianas. With greater 
unity of substance, these poems would compare favorably 
with Longfellow's Hiawatha, by which they seem to be 

Academic poetry tended to an epic accent and glorifica- 
tion of America. In Venezuela, this was furthered by the 
centenary of Bolivar, celebrated in 1883 with great pomp 
by Guzman Blanco, "the Regenerator," as he styled him- 
self; in contrast with the Liberator. To this epic tendency 
were due many poems such as La Colombiada and La 
Boliviada by Felipe Tejera, though not all were so ambi- 
tious in scope. The tendency to philosophize which marks 
academic poetry took an original turn toward the end of 
the decade of the seventies, through imitation of the 
German poet Heine and his Spanish adapter Becquer. 
Becquerista verse was immensely popular throughout 
Spanish America. In Venezuela it was made known by 
Juan Antonio Perez Bonalde (1846-92). 


In 1877 appeared his first volume entitled Estrofas, 
These were mainly translations of Heine's poems. Besides 
them, Perez Bonalde translated Poe's Raven in a masterly 
manner. But he was not merely a translator, for in 
original work Perez Bonalde must be reckoned among 
Venezuela's greatest poets. He excelled in verse expressing 
purely human sentiments. His Vuelta a la Patria con- 
tained sublime words on a topic which appeals to the hearts 
of all Spanish Americans. In Flor, dedicated to his daugh- 
ter Flor, snatched from him by death, he rebelled against 
the cruel fate of sudden death, which threatens all human- 
ity. Perez Bonalde's fame is however mainly grounded on 
his Poema del Niagara written in 1880. 

In the opening lines the poet challenged comparison 
with the " Poet of Niagara," the Cuban Heredia. We can 
do no better than to accept in this matter the judgment 
of the Cuban orator, Jose Marti, who contributed to the 
second edition of the poem a preface beginning: "This 
man who comes with me is a grandee, though not of Spain, 
and he comes with his hat on: he is Juan Antonio Perez 
Bonalde, who has written the Poem on Niagara. And if 
you ask me more about him, curious passer-by, I will tell 
thee that he measured his strength with a giant, and did 
not come away hurt, but with his lyre on his shoulder and 
with something like an aureole of triumph on his brow. 
Do not ask more, for it is sufficient proof of greatness to 
have dared measure one's strength with giants; because 
the merit is not in the outcome of the attack, although this 
man returned in good condition from the struggle, but in 
the courage to attack." 

In the poem, after describing the smoothly flowing river 


above the falls, the poet arrives at the rush of waters upon 
the rocks, the foam, the rain of diamonds, the rising vapors. 
He demands to know where is the deity of the falls. He 
entreats Virgil to lead him, because it is the poet's business 
to be a leader and conquer time and death. As the Man- 
tuan makes no reply, the poet urges himself forward to 
solve the mystery. He propounds three questions to 
which Echo gives answers. "Terrible genius of the torrent, 
whither goes mortal man?" And Echo responds, "To the 
tomb." "Is the tomb the end? what remains?" "Noth- 
ing." "Then why the struggle? will man ever know the 
secret of Being?" "Never." Farewell, cries the poet, 
your secret is the same as the thinker's; rebellion, doubt, 
the agony of the heart in tears. As the poet emerges from 
behind the falls he shouts Hosanna! at the beauty of the 
light, and turning again to the rushing waters, he says you 
are Hke man on an enormous scale, as ignorant as he. You 
issue pure and beautiful, but like the child fall into sin. 
You have your crown of iris, man has the iris of love and 
hope. In winter all is frozen about you but the torrent, 
just so man has poetry, his constant aspirations, the ideal. 
Some day you will disappear in a grand cataclysm. I too 
with my lyre will pass away. 

The immediate disciple in this sort of verse was Miguel 
Sanchez Pesquera (bom 185 1). In his early poems he 
sang passionate love, but attracted by Heine's lieder, he 
wrote excellent verses of the type which draw a moral by 
means of dramatic anecdote or dramatic setting. La 
Tumba del Marino begins : — He is dead ! They say on the 
ship speeding to distant Spain. Into the water with him, 
exclaims indifferently the captain. And the poet envies 


the ship wishing he might throw his dead heart into the 
waters. El ultimo Pensamiento de Weher is a poetic inter- 
pretation of a musical composition much admired by Ven- 
ezuelans. "Virgins, listen," the poet cries, and they 
hearken to a rhapsody on the transitoriness of human life. 

The theory of poetics which makes beauty the supreme 
object of art, while the personality of the artist is subor- 
dinated to the point of disappearance, sometimes called 
the Parnassian school, as exemplified in Leconte de L'Isle 
and the French poet, J. M. Heredia, had its followers 
in Venezuela toward the end of the nineteenth century. 
Jacinto Gutierrez Coll and Manuel Fombona Palacio 
were perhaps its two closest adherents. But the spirit 
of individuality is too keenly felt by Spanish Americans to 
be long subordinated. Moreover, the modernista move- 
ment soon changed the direction of the poetic current. 
Men like Gonzalo Picon Febres, Andres Mata, and Ga- 
briel Mufioz, who began to write in the Parnassian style 
became modemistas. 

Manuel Fombona Palacio (1857-1903), achieved a 
reputation for correctness of diction. By temperament, 
he was a classic as is evident in his odes A Andalucia and 
A la Muerte de Alfonso XII, which are read for their 
excellence of form. A later poem with its Latin title 
Hannibal ante portas is purely Parnassian, as it depicts 
the alarm of the citizens of Rome at the news of Hannibal's 
latest triumphs. 

Gabriel E. Muiioz strove to give his poems an Attic 
intonation and published them under the title Helenicas. 
One of them. El Himno de las Bacantes, won widespread 
popularity in Spanish America. 


Andres Mata with similar intent named his productions 
Pentelicas, suggestive of the cold beauty of a classic 
marble. But some of them were written under the spell of 
the Mexican fire-eater, Diaz Miron. Consequently Mata 
sings his struggles and personal triumphs with manly 
vigor. Nor is there anything cold about the little poem 
Del Pasado, in which he relates the memory of a youthful 
kiss bestowed on a barefoot maiden beside a spring. 

Manuel Pimentel Coronel (i 863-1907) wrote copious 
verses which were intended to impart a thought, as well as 
to be works of art. Los Paladines is a good example of his 
method. After describing the defeat of a lion by an eagle 
whose nest on a clifF the beast tried to rob, he urges poets 
to remember that victory awaits them in their struggles 
with titanic forces. The narrative element in his poems 
makes them interesting reading. 

Literature in Venezuela always returns to nature for 
its inspiration. As a describer of Venezuelan landscape 
Victor Raca.Tionde was eminently Venezuelan. Even 
more a follower of Yepes in this regard was Samuel Dario 
Maldonado. In Non serviam, he openly proclaimed him- 
self a Venezuelan rebel in the matter of following rules of 
art. And in lines of capricious length he relates in La 
Gloria his pursuit through a Venezuelan landscape of the 
nymph glory. En el Rio Zulia and Al Pastel are other 
charming pictures of natural beauty. His rebellion against 
classicism led him to use native words and phrases at will. 

Another poet to cultivate the crioUo in his verses was 
Francisco Lazo Marti, who combined therewith a certain 
philosophical symbolism. His Silva criolla is a beautiful 
description of landscape and manners in the Orinoco basin. 


The first attempts at fiction in Venezuela were produced 
under the influence of the romantic school. The orator 
and poet, Fermin Toro, imitated the manner of Victor 
Hugo in Los Martires and La Viuda de Corinto. 

Julio Calcano (b. 1840), of the famous family of that 
name, published in 1868 the attractive Blanc a de Tor- 
restella, which has deservedly seen its third edition. As 
it treats of the period of the renaissance in Italy it may still 
be read with interest like any other historical novel. In 
other tales Julio Calcano made his native country the 
background of the story and could write such vivid de- 
scription as this portrait of Padre Larrea, parish priest 
and colonel of revolutionary forces: — "Tall and vigorous, 
his sturdy neck revealed energy and determination in 
every movement. To see him on his mule, a palm leaf 
hat on his head, his soutane thrust into his trousers which 
in their turn were thrust into campaign boots, a sabre 
dangling from his belt which also held two double barrelled 
pistols, was the same thing as seeing the Devil with a medal 
of Christ at his neck. When the ecclesiastical authorities 
suspended him from his sacred duties, he did not complain 
but exclaimed, — *They will erect triumphal arches for 
us yet and make me archdeacon or bishop when we win.*" 

Julio Calcano was an active figure in the world of letters 
for many years, to which he performed an important 
service by a valuable treatise on the peculiarities of 
Venezuelan speech. El Castellano en Venezuela. 

Other writers of romantic fiction were Jose Maria 
Manrique, whose moralizing tales of impossible men and 
women were enjoyed by his readers; and Eduardo Blanco, 
an exponent of the fantastic and miraculous. His Zdratey 


published in 1882, the story of a Venezuelan bandit, was 
transitional to the realism coming into vogue. 

About 1880 the younger generation in Venezuela began 
reading Zola. At the same time the professors in the 
University of Caracas, supported by President Guzman 
Blanco, were teaching the elements of the Darwinian 
theory. Very soon the conflict of the new scientific ideas 
with the old order was reflected in fiction, while a heated 
controversy raged about Zola and the naturalistic school. 

Among the first students of Zola was Tomas Michelena 
whose realistic tale Debora, 1884, argued the social neces- 
sity of divorce. Other tales were more psychological in 
character, as La Hebrea^ which attempts to disclose the 
result of the marriage of Sara with Raul, a freethinker. 

The psychological story in the manner of Bourget was 
practiced by Jose Gil Fortoul. His autobiographical 
Julian was followed by ildilio? This latter concerns 
Enrique, a precocious youth, who has heard his professor 
say that the sun is fixed in space while the earth swings 
about it; but he remembers that the parish priest in re- 
lating the story of Joshua had said that the patriarch 
stopped the sun three hours in its course. The doubt 
in which this conflict of statement plunged the lad of 
fifteen made him "beat the earth, pluck handfuls of grass, 
perspire, gesticulate." Enrique is in love with Isabel, 
who is struck by lightning and he rebels against God, 
but instead of being morally ruined, he is filled with 
fresh energy to pursue his studies. A third story, Pasiones, 
attempts to reveal the mental attitude of the young men, 
during the last years of Guzman Blanco's rule. Gil Fortoul 
had himself been imprisoned for his utterances on public 


questions. He has since become a learned man, whose 
Historia constitucional de Venezuela is an authority on the 
subject and places the author among the leading men of 
his country. This history was written with great care and 
deliberation. Begun when Gil Fortoul was in the diplo- 
matic service of Venezuela, a pension from the govern- 
ment enabled him to complete and publish it. In the 
opinion of a competent critic, R. Blanco Fombona, "it 
is the most complete, most attractive, and most worth 
reading of any general history of Venezuela." 

The sensuality of Zola is reflected in the tales of exotic 
manners by Pedro Cesar Dominici, and in the novels of 
Venezuelan life by Rafael Cabrera Malo and Arevalo 
Gonzalez. But the manners depicted in these imitations 
of French fiction are not racy to the soil of Venezuela like 
those described by other novelists. Somehow in Venezuela 
though a movement in literature may come from outside, 
it very soon adapts itself to the genius of the country. 
" Thus in 1890 written according to naturalistic methods, 
so true to Venezuelan life and dialect that it is difficult 
for anybody not a Venezuelan to understand, was pub- 
lished Peonia, by Manuel Romero Garcia. The author 
announced as his purpose "to photograph a social condi- 
tion," namely, family life in the rural parts of Venezuela 
during Guzman Blanco's regime. The chief character, 
Carlos, who tells the story, has just graduated from the 
university as a doctor of law. Therefore he is invited 
from the city to visit an uncle on his plantation in order 
to assist him in settling a boundary dispute. The young 
man finds there a dreadful state of affairs. His uncle is a 
brutal tyrant who not only maltreats his servants and 


employees but even beats his wife and children with a 
rawhide whip. The oldest daughter has a love intrigue 
with a man beneath her social position who eventually 
sets fire to the house and shoots her father. The various 
incidents of the story introduce many customs of the 
country. The bad moral conditions depicted are ascribed 
by Romero Garcia to two facts, one that the laws of 
Venezuela do not admit of divorce, and the other the 
persistence of the old Roman tradition in the household 
that the father's word is law. "We have in the home," 
he says, "an odious dictatorship, a school in which slaves 
are trained for political dictatorships." 

Peonia launched the nationalistic or "criollo" movement 
in fiction. It was helped by the establishment in Caracas 
about the same time of El Cojo ilustrado^ a review whose 
pages were open to the publication of Creole stories. The 
honor of being the first to write short stories in this new 
form of art is attributed to Luis Urbaneja Achelpohl. 
Others who have published collections are Rafael Bolivar 
and Rufino Blanco Fombona. 

As some of the latter's tales were translated into French 
they have had a wide circulation. Blanco Fombona 
began his literary career by writing verses. Political 
conditions compelled him to leave Venezuela, but he was 
later Venezuelan consul in Amsterdam. When fortune 
brought him to Paris he published sketches of travel in 
Mas alia de los Horizontes and a volume of verses, Pequena 
opera lirica, 1904. In Paris he was a personal associate 
of Ruben Dario. As a modernista poet, Blanco Fombona 
must be reckoned as the foremost representative of Vene- 
zuela in the modernista movement; while his tales and 


his criollo novel El Homhre de Hierro give him a high place 
as a writer of fiction. 

/ This novel is a bitter satire on jocial condij jons in Vene- 
/zuela written from the fullness of personal knowledge. 
I Blanco Fombona was appointed by Cipriano Castro, 
governor of the territory of Amazonas, which in his own 
words "is as wild as in the days of the conquistadores 
and its population has the reputation of assassinating 
governors." Having defended himself against an armed 
attack, he was criminally accused and put in prison. There 
in 1905 he wrote El Homhre de Hierro. The title is the 
nickname given to Crispin Luz for his extraordinary appli- 
cation to business and fidelity to his employer. The latter 
is portrayed as the type of the unscrupulous foreigner 
exploiting the commerce of Venezuela. Crispin, how- 
ever, wins but little reward from him and after Crispin's 
death, his widow's lament consists merely of the exclama- 
tion, "Poor Crispin, always so busy!" Social life in Ven- 
ezuela, the smart and sarcastic conversation of certain 
types, the priests, the pious women, the general idleness, 
even the earthquakes and the revolutions are brilliantly 
«satiri7,p d. The revolutions are shown to be often the prod- 
uct of some man's personal vanity like that of Joaquin Luz 
who appears on the family estate at the head of a band 
of men whom he has persuaded to follow him. His gaudy 
uniform contrasts with their ragged clothes while the 
absurdity of his pretensions is revealed in the harangue 
which he makes them. "Redeemers! Let us depart 
for war. Our cause demands it. Our country needs it. 
Let us abandon our homes. Let us sacrifice our lives to 
overthrow tyranny and restore law and justice. Weapons 


the enemy has. Take them away from him. Hurrah 
for the revolution." The harm which such action as 
Joaquin's brings on his family is depicted in the arrival 
of the government troops a few moments after the de- 
parture of the "redeemers." The soldiers shoot a harm- 
less countryman, the cook's son, the only man left on 
the estate, as he tries to escape them by running away. 
Then they set fire to the farm buildings, shake the ripen- 
ing berries from the coffee trees, carry off the chickens, 
the kitchen utensils and "whatever else came to hand." 

When President Castro fell from power, Blanco Fom- 
bona was again imprisoned by the new President Juan 
Vicente Gomez. He brought from the prison a volume 
of verses published in 191 1 as Cantos de la Prision y del 
Destierroy of which he said, "Every strophe is a monu- 
ment to existence, life lived, a human cry of a man who 
has suffered." In these poems he retaliated on his jailers. 
In one of them he depicted Juan Vicente Gomez in a 
frenzy in a forest appealing in turn to the trees, the wind, 
the moss, the monkeys, and the hamadryads. Their only 
answer is "Juan Vicente Gomez, Traidor!" 

Blanco Fombona has remained away from Venezuela 
of recent years. In Paris he has busied himself with 
various literary enterprises. His critical articles about 
Spanish-American men of letters in the Revista de America 
and other periodicals have been valuable and interesting. 
His most ambitious work has been an annotated edition 
of Bolivar's correspondence for which students will always 
owe the author a debt of gratitude. 

The most ardent advocate in Venezuela of the criollo 
in literature is Gonzalo Picon Febres (b. i860), who has 


ably practiced his own preaching. His first writings 
were contained in two volumes of poems, Calendulas and 
Claveles encarnados y amarillos, titles suggestive of the 
Parnassian verses they exhibit. But one long poem, 
La Batalla de las Queseras, celebrates the victory of Gen- 
eral Paez over the Spaniards. After writing some tales, 
Fidelia, Ya es Hora, Flor, with Venezuelan setting but 
inclining to imitation of Zola's methods, and a novel 
Nieve y Lodo, a picture of corrupt living among society 
people, Picon Febres published in 1899 El Sargento 

This is a criollo novel of the purest type, unexcelled 
in form and substance. Its reading is recommended to 
anybody who desires a knowledge of Venezuelan life. 
Whatever details language cannot make clear are pictured 
in the many photogravures of persons and landscapes. 

The story relates the fortunes of Felipe, an industrious 
small farmer snatched from his home to serve in the army 
of Guzman Blanco against the rebel Salazar. During 
Felipe's absence his daughter Encarnacion is seduced by 
the wealthy young Don Jacinto Sandoval. The jealous 
and rejected suitor Matias sets fire to the house where 
the couple are in expectation of trapping and destroying 
his rival. News of these misfortunes is brought to Felipe 
when he is convalescing from his wounds in a hospital. 
Though weak and barely able to drag himself along, 
Felipe sets out for home. On arriving he finds his build- 
ings destroyed and learns that his wife is dead. After 
praying at her grave in the village cemetery, he seeks out 
Don Jacinto Sandoval and shoots him; then terminates 
his own life by throwing himself from a cliff. 


The novel abounds in realistic pictures of Venezuelan 
life. The reader is introduced to the " pulperia " or country 
store and the men who resort there for drink and conversa- 
tion. For him are minutely drawn the details of Felipe's 
home and simple daily existence before the tragedy. His 
daughter Encarnacion appears in all her finery ready for 
the ball. Felipe with the tyranny of a Venezuelan father 
forbids her to dance with anybody but Matias; with equal 
stubbornness she replies to his threats, "Beat me if you 
wish but I will not dance with Matias." The party is 
attended by young men from the city who attempt to 
lord it over the country swains till they retaliate by start- 
ing a fight which in turn is broken up by the cry that the 
recruiting officers are coming. In the army Felipe's 
sturdy reliability raises him to the rank of sergeant, 
trusted by his superior officer, General Cipriano Castro. 
He is interestingly sketched as "lazily swinging in his 
hammock but observant of details, quick to act but spar- 
ing of words, ready of purse and pistol." 

As a scholar Gonzalo Picon Febres, doctor of science 
and letters, has demonstrated in his Literatura venezolana 
en el Siglo XIX that the best and most enduring produc- 
tions of Venezuelan literature from Andres Bello's Agricul- 
tura de la Zona torrida down to the present day have their 
roots deep in the soil of Venezuela. This history, indica- 
tive of an immense amount of labor on the part of its 
author, is the first attempt at a comprehensive account 
in its chosen field; and is rendered more valuable by the 
portraits of nearly every writer mentioned. 

Another study by Picon Febres of the criollo is his 
Libro Raroy 191 2. Though a book on the peculiarities 


of Venezuelan speech completing and rectifying Julio 
Calcano's El Castellano en Venezuela, Picon Febres clarified 
his explanations of most of the terms discussed by anec- 
dotes of persons. The result is a book on philology so 
readable as almost to belong to the domain of folklore. 

The criollo novel easily lends itself to satire. A notable 
instance is Todo un Puehlo, renamed Villabrava in the 
Paris edition from the nickname bestowed on Caracas 
by the author, MigueTgduardo Pardp. The tone of this 
picture of its customs is indicated by the author's preface. 
"I abandoned literature for politics. I happened to be 
elected a member of Congress and I was stoned in the 
streets. So I packed my valise and departed. When I 
arrived in Spain my friends did not know me for I was 
thin and white — green sometimes. In Paris Gomez Car- 
rillo advised me to eat rare meat, but Bonafoux told mo 
what I needed was human flesh dripping blood." 

Bitter satire of Caracas and hatred of Caesarism in Am- 
erican politics also fills Idolos Rotos by Manuel Diaz Rodri- 
guez. It is the story of Alberto Soria, a sculptor, who re- 
turns from his studies in Paris to practice his art in Vene- 
zuela. His ideals and ambitions come into harsh conflict 
with the realities of life and the people about him, just as 
the fruits of his labor, his statues in the school of fine arts 
are smashed when the building is turned into a barracks 
by the military authorities. 

Symbolical interpretation of a social condition or the 
solution of a psychological problem characterize Diaz 
Rodriguez* other works of fiction. In Sangre Patricia 
he studies Tulio Arcos, scion of a family long prominent 
in public aflPairs and descended from a conquistador. 


Tulio Arcos inherits only the family pride and uneasy 
temperament. He is a timid neurotic, afraid in the dark, 
dreaming of great things and poetry. While living in Paris 
he is married by proxy to a young lady who unfortunately 
dies on the steamer on her way from Venezuela and is 
buried at sea. He resolves to return to America. On 
reaching the waters of the tropics he imagines that his 
bride is a siren calling to him, so he leaps overboard to 
join her. 

Diaz Rodriguez is an artist and writes the most graceful 
prose. As a critic he continues in Venezuela the tradition 
established by Luis Lopez Mendez, Cesar Zumeta and 
Pedro Emilio Coll for excellent aesthetic judgment. Diaz 
Rodriguez' discussions of certain ideals of art and other 
theoretical questions collected in the volumes Confidencias 
de Psiquis and Camino de Perfeccion have won unlimited 
praise from Spanish-American readers who delight in that 
form of literature. They place him with J. E. Rodo of 
Uruguay as an intellectual leader of the modernista 



Mexican literature presents great variety of form, not 
only an abundance of lyric and narrative verse but 
also numerous dramas, prose tales and novels. This 
literary activity during the nineteenth century is partly 
due to the inheritance of culture which stood on a high 
plane in Mexico during the colonial period. The numerous 
theaters built at that time even in small towns provided 
an opportunity for the productions of local dramatists. 
To them the storied past of Mexico afforded a wide field 
when the stimulus of the romantic movement turned 
minds in that direction. The history of the Aztecs, of 
the conquistadores and of the heroes of the struggle for 
independence furnished themes for all branches of litera- 
ture. On the other hand, the classical tradition main- 
tained itself in a steady outpouring of religious verse both 
in poetical renderings of scripture and in forms intended 
to combat anticlericalism. 

/ The character of the population has exerted as much 
influence on Mexican literature as on Mexican politics. 
The educated and ruling class of whites live marooned 
and greatly outnumbered among a rude and depraved pop- 
ulation of Indians. The latter are the laborers. Among 
them individuals sometimes rise above the common level. 
In politics there has been constant turmoil in the effort 



to adjust the clashes between the interests of the property 
owners and the laboring classes. Literature naturally 
has reflected the supremacy of the one or the other party. 

After the separation from Spain the drama was a form 
of literature much cultivated in Mexico. The Cuban 
poet, J. M. Heredia, won his way into public notice by his 
adaptations of French plays full of tirades against tyrants. 
A native-bom Mexican, Manuel Eduardo de Gorostiza 
(1789-185 1), who had achieved notable successes in Spain 
by his comedies, recast some of them for the Mexican 
public and made translations and adaptations of such 
plays as Lessing's Emilia Galotti. But his literary career 
belongs rather to the history of Spanish literature than 
to Mexican. In his own country he played an important 
part as a politician and diplomat. Gorostiza*s comedies 
based on observation of Spanish manners were not so 
well suited to please a Mexican public as the great roman- 
tic dramas in the style of Garcia Gutierrez. 

When the first editions of the works of the Spanish 
romantic poets and dramatists reached the book store 
of Mariano Galvan in Mexico City and fell into the hands 
of his young clerk and nephew, Ignacio Rodriguez Galvan 
(1816-42), the seed of romanticism had crossed the seas 
and fallen where it would flourish. In 1838 was produced 
the first drama of the modem type written in Mexico, 
Rodriguez Galvan's Munoz, Visitador de Mexico. The 
scene is laid in the early colonial days during the reign 
of Philip II. The visitador, portrayed as a tyrant, woos 
Celestina, wife of Sotelo. The latter in revenge incites 
a rebellion the failure of which results in Sotelo's execu- 
tion. At the sight of his corpse Celestina dies. 


To a periodical and an annual review which his uncle 
published at this time Rodriguez Galvan contributed 
several short tales and various legends in verse. The 
tales are mainly tragic. La Hija del Oidor, for example, 
narrates the sad story of a young girl, saved from drown- 
ing by a criminal who ruins her and persuades her to elope 
with him. Surprised in the attempt he kills her. The 
legends in verse though tragic have greater artistic value. 
In one of them. Mora, 3. Mexican insurgent by that name 
loves Angela, the daughter of a loyalist who prefers for a 
son-in-law Pinto. Angela is married to Pinto during 
Mora's absence. When the latter returns Angela explains 
to him how she was compelled to marry Pinto; but, since 
she prefers to remain faithful to her husband, she begs 
Mora to depart. The sudden appearance on the ^cene 
leads to a duel in which Mora is killed. Angela dies of 

In La Vision de Moctezuma Rodriguez Galvan related 
a legend of the period preceding the conquest of Mexico. 
The taxgatherers of the Aztec monarch demand the 
tribute of a poor old woman, Nolixtli. Unable to pay, 
she and her daughter Teyolia are cruelly ill treated. But 
Moctezuma, coming on the scene, falls in love with Teyolia 
whom he orders placed in his royal barge. As it is being 
rowed across the lake, Nolixtli attempts to swim in pur- 
suit but is drowned. Her specter appears to the tyrant 
and prophesies the arrival of the Spaniards who will ter- 
minate the oppression of the people by the Aztec rulers. 

The same machinery of a vision was utilized in what 
may be considered Rodriguez Galvan's masterpiece, La 
Profecia de Guatemoc. The political note which the poet 



sounded in some of his lyrics here became dominant. 
This poem opens with a description of the wood of Chapul- 
tepec where the poet is wandering. The locaHty reminds 
him of Guatemoc, the unfortunate last emperor of the 
Aztecs, whom Cortes tortured by applying fire to the 
bare soles of his feet. "Come," the poet cries aloud; 
"hear me!" The Aztec monarch replies by appearing 
amid terrifying phenomena. Displaying his charred feet 
with imprecations on the cruelty of the Europeans, 
Guatemoc reveals the future invasions of Mexico which 
will force their descendants to repay with blood the crimes 
of their fathers. The poet then awakes choking in a 
river of blood. 

Rodriguez Galvan's legends in verse and occasional 
lyrics brought him into public notice. The production 
of another drama. El Privado del Firrey, of the same type 
as his earlier one served to clinch his reputation. Having 
long desired to travel, he managed by means of his lit- 
erary popularity to obtain appointment in the diplomatic 
service to South America. He set out for his post, but 
on the way was overtaken in Havana by a fatal sickness. 
When one considers that he was then but twenty-six 
years old, it will not be surprising that his dramas are 
somewhat crude in form • and suffer from the defects 
common to the romantic school. Nevertheless they 
pointed to the ideal of a drama essentially Mexican, 
drawing its inspiration from the traditions of national 
history and customs. 

This ideal was not followed by his contemporary, 
Fernando Calderon y Beltran (1809-45). I^ f^^t, the 
latter began writing plays even earlier in his native town 


of Zacatecas. Here he produced in 1826 Reynaldo y 
Elina, the best of many early pieces. By profession he 
was a lawyer. Thus being involved in politics, he joined 
the rebels of his state against Santa Anna and was wounded 
in the battle of Guadalupe in 1836. Banished from his 
native place for complicity in the revolt, his property 
gone, he came to Mexico. Here he wrote and produced 
his most important dramas. El Torneo and Ana Bolena 
and a comedy, A Ninguna de las tres. The latter was an 
imitation, perhaps even a parody on Breton de los Her- 
reros' Marcela a cual de las ires; but the scene of Cal- 
der6n*s comedy is laid in Mexico, and gives a picture of 
three silly maids who fail to please a fussy suitor. His 
dramas, on the other hand, followed rather the manner of 
Garcia Gutierrez and continued to please the Mexican 
public after Rodriguez Galvan's were out of date. Though 
Ana Bolena treated a topic so foreign to Mexico as the 
famous amour of Henry VHI of England, yet it contained 
certain commonplaces which the public liked to hear. 

Calderon was also the author of a few good lyrics and 
some narrative verse. Of the former, the most original is 
La Rosa marchita in which he compared the present state 
of his fortunes to the withered rose. Popular, however, 
was El Soldado de Libertad, an imitation in form of Es- 
pronceda*s pirate song; and El Sueno del Tirano, which 
pictures the nightmare of a tyrant steeped in crimes. Of 
the narrative poems, Adela relates the sad mischance of 
a young man arrested as he was on the way to marry a 
lady of that name, and shot as an insurgent. There was 
an echo of his own misfortunes in La Vuelia del Desterrado. 
An old man returned to the site of his former home to find 


nothing recognizable but a tree; embracing/ it he expired 
from grief. Though Calderon's verses place him among 
Mexico's best poets, the popularity and number of his 
plays give him even greater fame as a dramatist. 

Contemporaneous with the romanticists were certain ^ 
poets who belonged to the conservative and clerical party 
in politics. The revolution which resulted in the separa- 
tion of Mexico from Spain originated with the property 
holding classes, 1 so that the constitution adopted in 1824 
gave great power to them and to the church as the bul- 
wark of the state. Attacks more or less successful were 
made by the liberals on this system during the decades 
of the thirties and forties. The loss of Texas and the 
war with the United States enormously weakened the 
hold of the conservative party. In literature the party 
at this time was represented by Manuel Carpio, J. J. 
Pesado and others who strove by religious verse to con- 
tribute their little to uphold the established order. 

Manuel Carpio (i 791-1860) was a physician and teacher 
of science, of a kindly and religious disposition who wrote 
himself into his verses though these are mainly biblical 
stories retold. The most sustained and famous is the La ^ 
Cena de Baltasafy but he also versified the stories of the 
witch of Endor, the destruction of Sodom, the Annuncia- 
tion. Even a sonnet on Adam and Eve is a mere state- 
ment of fact. Carpio*s suave manner made these agree- 
able reading. Originally published in periodicals, the 
poems were collected by his friend Pesado. 

Jose Joaquin Pesado (i 801-61) was a leader politically 
as well as in a literary way of the conservatives, and held 
^ See Chapter III. 


various cabinet offices. A rich man, he devoted much 
of his time to purely literary pursuits. His many-sided 
activities are testified to by the facts that in 1838 he 
was a member of President Bustamente's cabinet, and in 
1839 he published the first edition of his poems, which 
were received with great acclaim by his party. His frigid 
mannerisms make them hard to admire to-day. His 
verse renderings of portions of the Bible lack the feeling 
which Carpio could put into his lines. Pesado's imitations 
of classical lyrics, even those with sensual titles, and his 
so-called pictures of Mexican life are couched in such 
general terms that they leave no definite impression. His 
longest poem of religious character concerns the city of 
Jerusalem. The poet apostrophizes the city, expresses 
his regret at not having seen it, refers to its misfortunes 
under the Mohammedans and the crusaders, describes 
it as it will appear after the day of judgment, and hymn- 
ing the risen dead, depicts the celestial Jerusalem. The 
best of the ideas in this poem were borrowed from Italian 
poets, with whose works Pesado was acquainted. 

His most enduring work and one for which Mexico 
must remain indebted to Pesado is entitled Las Aztecas, 
These are translations of the poems of the Aztec monarch 
J^etzahualcoyotl, who flourished before the coming of the 
Spaniards. Pesado commissioned a native Indian to 
translate them and then he put them into Castilian verse. 
Though the suspicion may be true that Pesado injected 
some of his own Christian ideas into these poems, for the 
most part commonplaces on death and the transitoriness 
of earthly affairs, yet they reveal a grave and peculiar 
individuality not completely obscured by Pesado's version. 


About 1855, the political skies loomed dark for the 
conservatives. The religious orders were being threatened 
in some of their cherished prerogatives by measures pro- 
posed by the liberals. To combat them Pesado founded 
La Cruz, a journal which both for its intrinsic worth as 
well as for its significance must be considered in Mexican 
Hterary history. Its publication was continued till the 
clerical party went down to absolute defeat before the 
promulgation of the reform constitution of 1857. 

A Catholic poet whose verses graced the pages of La 
Cruz was Alejandro Arango y Escandon (1821-83). His 
work is sufficiently characterized by the titles of his best 
odes, Invocacion a la Bondad divina and En la inmaculada 
Concepcion de Nuestra Senora. 

In La Cruz appeared the first work of a younger mem- 
ber of the conservative party, Jose Maria Roa Barcena 
(i 827-1908). He was later a supporter of the French 
intervention and an office holder under Maximilian. His 
originality consisted in a utilization of Mexican history 
for poetic narratives. In this respect he was a follower of 
Rodriguez Galvan. But Roa Barcena conceived the 
idea of putting his pieces together in chronological order 
as in the volumes Ensayo de una Historia anecdota de 
Mexico and Leyendas mexicanas. 

The best ideas of the latter are given in the author's 
introduction. "My legend Xochitl gives an idea of the 
destruction of the Toltec monarchy which preceded the 
others established in Anahuac. After noting the traditions 
relative to the emigration, wanderings, arrival, enslave- 
ment, and emancipation of the Aztecs and the foundation 
of Mexico, I trace some of their domestic customs in the 


Casamiento de Netzahualcoyotl and proceed to describe in 
La Princesa Papantzin the prophecies concerning the 
coming of the Europeans and the symptoms of the great 
change brought about by the Spanish conquest." 

Roa Barcena busied himself in literary production 
during a long life. His last volume of verses was published 
in 1895. The legendary history led him to a serious study 
of history on the one hand, while the historical anecdote 
incited him to the composition of original tales on the other 
as well as translations of Hoffmann, Dickens and Byron. 
Of his rendering of Byron's tales Menendez y Pelayo 
says: — "Seldom has Byron been so well interpreted in 
Castilian and perhaps never." The same critic said of his 
historical legends in verse: — "I consider them the best of 
their kind. . . . The Princesa Papantzin has a certain 
prophetic grandeur." 

On the purely historical side Mexico is indebted to Roa 
Barcena for an excellent account of the war with the 
United States which he entitled Recuerdos de la Invasion 
norte-americana. The student of literature will be in- 
terested in his biographies of Pesado, Gorostiza and 
others. Narrative verse like his Mexican legends 
dealing with episodes in Mexican history has bulked 
large enough to form almost a special branch of Mexican 

Belonging to this ballad type of verse is the work of an 
earlier poet, Jose de Jesus Diaz (1809-46). As his poems 
long remained uncollected they were soon forgotten and 
had no influence on other writers. But they possessed a 
peculiar excellence, due to his personal knowledge of 
geographical conditions. Being a soldier in the army op- 



erating near Vera Cruz and the state of Jalapa, he could 
place the popular traditions in their correct setting amid 
the rich vegetation of that region when narrating episodes 
of the first uprisings against the Spanish. The best of 
these legends are La Cruz de Madera and El Puente del 
Diablo. Somewhat more historical are La Orden relating 
the capture of Oaxaca by Morelos and El Fusilamiento de 

Diaz' work was not without influence at least on his son, 
Juan Diaz Covarrubias (1837-59). At the early age of 
twenty he published a volume of poems, Pdginas del Cor- 
azon, written in the manner of the Spanish poet Zorrilla 
then living in Mexico. But Diaz Covarrubias* place in 
Mexican letters is founded on his historical novel Gil 
Gomez el Insurgente. His other essays in fiction are in- 

The protagonist of this novel was one of those remark- 
able persons unknown to their contemporaries, but famous 
to :)osterity. Gil Gomez, according to the author, was 
present or associated with the chief occurrences in Mexico 
between 18 10 and 181 2. In the intervals between battles 
he managed to carry on an exciting love affair, so that 
his adventures offer the reader an interesting picture of 
the period. 

Diaz Covarrubias had scarcely completed his novel be- 
fore events allowed him to imitate his hero. In .857 the 
liberal party proposed in the Mexican congress a new 
constitution to supersede that of 1824. The bitter opposi- 
tion to it by the conservatives led to an armed struggle. 
The liberals, though beaten at first, reorganized under 
Benito Juarez. When the latter was planning an attack on 


Mexico City in 1859, Diaz Covarrubias joined one of the 
numerous small groups which were gathering in various 
parts of the country. His band, however, was surprised 
by the soldiers of General Marquez before it was fairly 
organized, and Diaz Covarrubias was one of sixteen 

A poet more fortunate than he was Juan Valle (1838-64) 
because he lived to see his party triumphant, and even to 
enjoy a small pension from his friends in power. As he 
had been blind from the age of three, it is remarkable that 
he could take so active a part among fighting men. At 
any rate his fiery patriotic verse roused them to enthu- 
siasm. To those who know his misfortune, the many 
lines in his poems alluding to his blindness have a truly 
pathetic ring. Especially touching is a poem with the 
refrain, "I suffer so much." 

The political events of the decade of the sixties were 
reflected in literature, both by the presentation of the 
stirring events of the period, and in the persons and doc- 
trines of the writers. Mexicans term this epoch, beginning 
with the legislative proposal for a new constitution in 1857, 
"la reforma." The reforms consisted in a liberalization 
of the laws, respecting the freedom of the press and of 
speech and the secularization of church lands. By such 
means it was hoped to undermine the political power of 
the clergy. The elements favoring these changes in the 
constitution gradually grouped themselves under the 
leadership of Benito Juarez (1806-72). His pure Indian 
blood is indicative of the character of the revolution. 
After years of fighting Juarez succeeded in 1861 in ob- 
taining complete control of the government, and in bring- 


ing about the confiscation of much of the land held by the 
clerical corporations. 

In handling the business of state, however, Juarez 
played into the hands of the conservative and clerical 
party, who were intriguing for European intervention by 
making the disastrous mistake of repudiating the foreign 
debt of Mexico. To enforce its payment English, Spanish 
and French troops were landed at Vera Cruz. A body of 
French soldiers advancing into the interior were routed 
in a smart fight with the Mexicans under General Zaragoza 
on May 5th, 1862, an event which was long celebrated as a 
national holiday, "el cinco de mayo." The government 
of Louis Napoleon retaliated by sending a more formidable 
force under Marshal Bazaine and by inducing Maximilian 
of Austria to accept the throne as Emperor of Mexico. 
Juarez and his guerillas were obliged to retreat to the 
northern mountains. In 1867, however, the French army 
was withdrawn leaving Maximilian to his fate, for without 
the French the Mexican imperialists were speedily de- 
feated by Juarez. Maximilian was taken prisoner and 
shot at a locality known as the Cerro de las Campanas. 
Juarez was elected president in August, 1867, and again in 

The year 1868 witnessed an important revival of letters 
in Mexico. Newspapers were established, literary soci- 
eties formed and literary evenings held when poems, prose, 
articles and addresses were read to enthusiastic listeners. 
Beside Juarez other men of Indian blood came into prom- 
inence, notably Ignacio Ramirez (1818-79) and Ignacio 
Manuel Altamirano (1834-93). Just as their poHtical 
activities were directed against the land holdings of the 


clergy, their literary and philosophical doctrines were in- 
clined to extreme liberalism. Ignacio Ramirez, by his 
savage articles signed "El Nigromante," won for him- 

' self a reputation as a Mexican Voltaire for he openly pro- 
fessed atheism in discussions concerning the existence of 
God. He introduced the study of modem psychology 

"* into Mexico. The constructive side of his criticism of life, 
a sort of stoic philosophy, he set forth in verses written 

\ with care and classical finish. 

With Guillermo Prieto and Altamirano he edited the 
important liberal journal El Correo de Mexico. Guillermo 
Prieto (1818-97) deserves praise for his narrative poems 
of episodes in Mexican history. Altamirano became one 
of the most important Mexican men of letters. 

Bom a full-blooded Indian, Altamirano went to school 
for the first time at the age of fourteen, ignorant even of 
the Spanish language. As his father had just been ap- 
pointed alcalde of the village, the schoolmaster took a 
little more than ordinary interest in the lad in whom he 
discovered unusual intelligence. The schoolmaster en- 
couraged him to attend the Institute of Toluca, open 
according to law to free attendance by young Indians. 
Again his studiousness and capacity captivated his teachers 
who assisted him to go to Mexico City to study at the 
Colegio de San Juan Letran. Like other students he par- 
ticipated in the excitement of the politics of the day and 
enlisted in the army of Juarez. Under the orders of 
Porfirio Diaz at the attack on La Puebla he distinguished 
himself for bravery. In 1861, elected a member of con- 
gress at the age of twenty-seven, his first important 
speech was delivered against a law of general amnesty 

MEXICX) 347 

which his fiery and bloodthirsty eloquence succeeded in 
defeating. After the expulsion of the French he received 
from the public treasury by the order of President Juarez 
the repayment of a considerable sum of money which he 
had expended during the war. With this money he es- 
tablished the Correo de Mexico. 

From that time Altamirano was a prominent figure in 
Mexican literature, editing various periodicals and found- 
ing or encouraging literary societies. He also conducted 
classes as a professor of law, of history and of literature. 
His published remains consist of poems, addresses and 
tales. His semi-historical novel, Clemencia La Navidad en 
la Montana, giving interesting pictures of Mexican life 
while relating the exemplary conduct of its hero, a Chris- 
tian priest, has reached a fifth edition. Of the many gov- 
ernmental positions held by Altamirano the most important 
was that of consul general at Barcelona, to which he was 
appointed in 1889. 

Altamirano's early verses belong to the erotic type. 
Later in life when he collected his fugitive pieces in a 
volume he combined four of them into a connected whole 
with an explanation in prose that he had attempted an 
imitation of Theocritus, in describing the different periods 
of the day in his native province of Acapulco, while the 
human beings who figure in the poems appear merely for 
the purpose of giving animation and relief to nature. 
Perhaps a scientific interest may have prevailed in his 
mind when he wrote La Flor del Alba and La Salida del 
Sol since he calls the many trees, plants and birds by their 
Indian names, but in Los Naranjos the orange trees in 
blossom like the rest of nature suggest love to the young 


man who invites his beloved to "leave her bath" and 
"come quickly," and in Las AmdpolaSy descriptive of the 
midday heat, the lover begs the beauty "to have pity," 
but "with languid glance she replies with a smile — y 

?» nada mas." There is a torrid directness about these 
idyllic pictures which is characteristically Mexican. An- 
other poem, Las Abe j as, contains the advice to a lovelorn 
swain to observe the bees, how they seek out humble 
flowers; like them turning away from the proud false 
beauty, he should seek the honey of love among the 
simple flowers. Altamirano's later verses were more 
purely descriptive, and in his journalistic work he was 
rather a stem censor of morals. 

But his contemporary, Manuel Maria Flores (1840-85), 
wrote erotic poetry of the most straightforward type. 
Resembling the least ideal of Alfred de Musset's work, 
he delights in the physical effects of love. Kisses abound 
in his lines; he dreams that at midnight his beloved knocked 
at his door; "perhaps at the terrible contact of thy lips 
my heart would break." He published his poems under 
the apt title of Pasionarias. Of this collection the best 
is Bajo las Palmas; and the worst from a certain point of 
view. La Orgia, which seems to have been written after 
an attack of delirium tremens. Later poems as Hojas 
Secas reveal weariness of sensual excitement; and certain 
it is that after living a freethinker he died a Catholic. 

'^ His vigorous ode, J la Patria en el 5 de mayo de i862y 

shows what he might have accomplished in political verse. 

Flores is said to be the most widely read of Mexican poets. 

Of the same age Jose Rosas Moreno (1838-83) preferred 

the grave and reflective kind of poetry. He came into 


notice through an elegy on the death of Juan Valle. As a 
journalist he was connected with various papers and also 
essayed the drama. But his special originality consisted 
in verses on domestic topics and his fables. The American 
poet, Bryant, thus translated one which pleased him. 

The Elm and the Vine 

"Uphold my feeble branches 
By thy strong arms, I pray.** 
Thus to the Elm her neighbor 
The Vine was heard to say. 
**Else, lying low and helpless, 
A wretched lot is mine, 
Crawled o'er by every reptile, 
And browsed by hungry kine." 
The Elm was moved to pity. 
Then spoke the generous tree: 
"My hapless friend, come hither. 
And find support in me." 
The kindly Elm, receiving 
The grateful Vine's embrace, 
Became, with that adornment, 
The garden's pride and grace; 
Became the chosen covert 
In which the wild-birds sing; 
Became the love of shepherds. 
And glory of the spring. 
Oh, beautiful example 
For youthful minds to heed! 
The good we do to others 
Shall never miss its meed. 
The love of those whose sorrows 
We lighten shall be ours; 
And o'er the path we walk in 
That love shall scatter flowers. 


The skepticism which Altamirano and Ignacio Ramirez 
set forth in their prose and verse was furthered by the 
teaching at the University of Mexico. The clash between 
science and religion due to the spread of the theory of 
^volution was presented by a student of medicine, Manuel 
Acuna (1849-73), in a daring poem which made him fa- 
mous by the sensation it excited. In Ante un Cadaver 
he discussed the problem of existence. According to the 
poem science finds that everything finishes in the tomb. 
Immortality resides only in matter. The body given 
back to earth may ascend again to life as wheat or flowers; 
"for the being that dies is another being that comes into 
existence: matter, immortal as glory, never dies." 

The enthusiasm aroused by Acufia's poems resulted in 
the founding of a literary society to encourage the writing 
of verse. It was named after the Aztec poet-king Net- 
zahualcoyotl and elected for its president Altamirano. 
To the versifiers of the society, among whom should be 
mentioned Agustin F. Cuenca (1850-84), every poem 
became the resolution of a social problem. 

Acuna won a triumph also with a play, which kept the 
stage for some time, entitled El Pasado. It dealt with an 
artist who married a girl who had been ruined by a rich 
villain. After years of residence in Paris, they return 
to Mexico where the artist attempts to introduce his wife 
into polite society. She is pursued by her former lover 
assisted by an equally villainous friend. In spite of the 
husband's efforts these men so drive the woman to despair 
that she leaves her home and commits suicide in order to 
spare her husband further disgrace and annoyance. 

Acuna*s own death by suicide at the early age of twenty- 


four seemed to give the right to those who were shocked 
by his bold skepticism. But his last poem explains the 
act as due to disappointment in love. The poem relates 
the marriage of a young girl to another man than the one 
she loves. After years have elapsed she comes one day 
upon a tomb. The poet explains to her curious question- 
ing, "You know the dead; you know the executioner." 

While the mental attitude of a certain part of the Mexi- 
cans was exhibited in the verses of Acuiia and his friends, 
the populace found their spokesman in Antonio Plaza ^ 
(1833-82). His was the bitter voice of the mob that hates 
and curses. His skeptical sarcastic diatribes won him a 
temporary popularity which may have solaced him for 
the loss of a foot injured by a cannon ball in 1861. From 
different angles Acuiia and Plaza epitomize the ideas and 
emotions of their epoch. 

Another type of verse writing which assumed large 
proportions during the seventies was the production of 
ballads dealing with various periods of revolutionary * 
history. The most assiduous producer of them was Guil- 
lermo Prieto. Several newspapers vigorously encouraged 
writing ballads so that some are found among the poems 
of nearly every writer. In 1 9 10, as part of the festivities 
of the centenary of the Mexican revolution, the editors 
of the series of books known as the Biblioteca de Autores 
Mexicanos collected the best of the historical ballads and 
printed them in chronological order in two volumes with < 
the title of Romancero de la Guerra de Independencia, 

Literary interest in Mexican warfare did not, however, 
confine itself to ballads but also extensively cultivated 
fiction. The novel as a variety of literature has flourished 


in Mexico throughout the nineteenth century and when- 
ever its theme at all concerns contemporary life it offers 
many reahstic details. It will be remembered that both 
Rodriguez Galvan and Pesado practiced the short story, 
but the example of Fernandez Lizardi in his Periquillo 
Sarniento had no followers before 1845. ^^ that year 
appeared Manuel Payno's El Pistol del Diablo. The 
author was a man of some education and literary talent 
which he had strengthened by travel and acquaintance 
with European literatures. He attempted a study of 
Mexican types, customs and language very similar to 
those described in the Periquillo; and his book met with a 
popularity almost as great. 

Justo Sierra (18 14-61) wrote a novel in the form of 
letters, Ufi Ano en el Hospital de San Ldzaro for the first 
literary journal published in Yucatan in 1841. Sierra 
desired to establish a special literature of Yucatan and 
with this end in view wrote a historical novel La Hija del 
Judio based on an incident from the early annals of his 
province. Don Alonso de la Cerda, justicia mayor of 
Yucatan in 1666, having no children, adopted Maria, 
the daughter of a woman who died in his house. When the 
girl became of marriageable age, it is the duty of a priest 
who has hitherto kept the secret to reveal the fact that 
Maria is the child of a Jew. Her adoptive father and her 
betrothed lover are, however, unmoved in their love for 
her. Justo Sierra was a successful and learned lawyer. 
At the period known as the reform he was chosen by the 
government to draw up a code of the civil law of Mexico, 
a labor which he accomplished at the ruination of his 


His son by the same name, Justo Sierra (1848-19 12) 
was a diligent and prolific man of letters, a poet and a 
critic as well as a successful lawyer. In journalism he 
introduced the light and gracefully satiric French style 
of writing, which pleased his readers. For a long time he 
was a prominent figure among lovers of good literature 
in Mexico. He was the author of various tales, poems 
and books of travel. 

The influence of the French Romantic novelists, par- 
ticularly of the type of Alphonse Karr and Eugene Sue, 
made itself felt about the middle of the century. In imi- 
tation of the former was written Guerra de Treinta Anos 
by Fernando Orozco y Berra. The story depicts a soul 
once eager for love and enjoyment, but now filled with 
disillusion. It is the personal history of the author who 
died soon after its publication. His friends pointed out a 
certain beautiful young lady as the original of the scornful 
and fickle Serafina so that to her house began a veritable 
pilgrimage of the romantically inclined. 

The sentimental tale was also cultivated by Florencio 
del Castillo who gave to his heroines the most complete 
beauty of person and character, angels of sweetness, 
whose passionate love ends not in marriage but in suffering 
or grief. But the tales have the considerable merit of 
presenting accurate pictures of life among the lower and 
middle classes of Mexican society. 

As a study of social conditions should also be mentioned 
Ironias de la Vida by Pantaleon Tovar (1828-76) who 
gave a certain realistic touch to his novel by introducing 
the argot of the lower classes. Tovar was also a prolific 
versifier on familiar topics. 


The historical novel can show many notable examples 
in Mexican literature though they seldom can be rightly 
called more than embellished history. After the success 
of Gil Gomez el Insurgente whose unfortunate author, 
Juan Diaz Covarrubias, was so cruelly executed, a series 
of similar novels dealing generally with contemporary 
events appeared. The story of the French invasion which 
terminated in 1867 by the execution of the Emperor 
Maximilian was given to the reading public by Juan 
Antonio Mateos in a so-called novel whose title, El Cerro 
de las CampanaSy bore the same name as the locality where 
the Emperor was shot. Its publication was an event in 
Mexican literary annals on account of the extremely 
large number of copies sold. The author being an eye- 
witness of much that he described, competent critics 
are inclined to the opinion that his book gives as accurate 
an idea of what really happened as can possibly be gleaned 
from the badly mutilated and falsified official records. 
Moreover, to the Mexican people El Cerro de las Campanas 
is the source of their knowledge of the French invasion. 
Mateos wrote other novels and even some plays without 
meeting with the same success. 

The French period was also depicted by General Vi- 
cente Riva Palacio (1832-96) in Calvario y Tabor. He 
had seen the heroism of the common soldiers under his 
command in the central part of the republic as, hungry and 
naked, with prices on their heads, they maintained a 
stubborn war against the invader, relying for support 
on captured spoils even at the very gates of the capital. 
He did not hesitate to describe so horrible a thing as the 
poisoning of a whole division of soldiers. On the other 



hand, interesting descriptions of various localities on the 
southern coast and the hot land of Michoacan afford 
agreeable reading. The author was personally so popular 
that the book met with considerable success so that he was 
encouraged to try his hand on a novel drawn from the 
archives of the Mexican inquisition, entitled Monja y % 
Casada, virgen y mdrtir. Riva Palacio was an important 
personage in the journalism of his day and known favor- 
ably as a poet. 

A more fertile novelist was Manuel Sanchez Marmol 
(i 839-191 2), a journalist who served with the Republican 
forces at the time of the French intervention. He early 
performed a service to Mexican letters by rescuing from 
oblivion the verses of his fellow natives of Yucatan, es- 
pecially those of Quintana Roo and Alpuche which he 
published in 1861 under the title of Poetas Yucatecos y ^ 
Tabasquenos. The titles of some of his novels are El 
Misionero de la Cruz, PocahontaSy a political satire, Juanita 
Sousdy the story of an unfortunate love aflPair, and Jnton 
Perez. The last named portrays the troublous times as 
the author witnessed them in the province of Tabasco. 
Anton was the typical bright Indian boy who has at- 
tracted the attention of the village priest. The latter's 
influence, however, fails to obtain for him the coveted 
scholarship in the seminary at Merida, so he is obliged 
to remain as an ordinary poor laborer helping to support 
his relatives. When the French come, he enters the local 
guards who on account of his intelligence make him a 
lieutenant. As a boy at school he had been annoyed by 
the childish admiration of a girl of wealthy parents, Ro- 
salba del Riego. Now that they are both grown, he falls 


in love with her but she rejects his attentions. An aunt 
of hers, Doiia Socorro Castrejon, however, conceives a 
passion for the handsome young soldier. By her he is 
induced to desert to the imperialist cause. In a battle 
that follows Anton is mortally wounded. Then the author 
drives home to the reader's mind the lesson of the man 
who has turned traitor to his country through the influence 
of a foolish love. Anton, helpless from his wounds, is 
finally despatched and his body eaten by vultures. "Who- 
ever has read it," says the critic Francisco Sosa, "will 
never forget how Anton Perez died." 

A thoroughgoing reconstruction of the period of the 
^French intervention was attempted by Alfonso M. Mal- 
donado (b. 1849) in his novel Nobles y PlebeyoSy written, 
according to the preface to his children, that they might 
form an exact idea of the years from 1862 to 1867 from 
the relation of his personal experiences. Writing years 
after the events the author lays claim to an impartiality 
of judgment acquired by long experience as a judge. 
Maldonado wrote many shorter tales and historical 

Some of these belong to that considerable body of 
Mexican literature which lies on the borderland between 
fiction and history. The tales of Manuel Dominguez 
and Rivera y Rio, for example, are fiction, while those of 
Hilarion Frias y Soto and Luis Gonzalez Obregon are 
mainly popular history. 

Of serious historical students there have been a great 
number in Mexico. Carlos M. Bustamente and Lucas 
Alaman treated the history of Mexico with a large degree 
of partisanship, but Joaquin Garcia Icazbalceta (1825-94) 


was painstaking and accurate in his exhaustive erudition 
concerning the period of Spanish control. Alfredo Cha- — n 
vero delved deep into the history and antiquities of the 
aboriginal races. 

In the matter of biography the student owes a debt 
to Francisco Sosa (b. 1848) who has also written much 
literary criticism of importance. For literary history the 
only work is the unsatisfactory and defective Historia 
critica de la Literatura en Mexico by Francisco Pimentel. 
Victoriano Agiieros (1854-1911), during the golden period 
of the early Diaz regime, attempted to acquaint Spanish 
readers with Mexican authors by writing articles for 
foreign periodicals. Later he performed a great service 
by printing popular editions of the best Mexican writers 
in the series entitled Biblioteca de Autores Mexicanos. 

The death of Juarez in 1872 was followed by a period 
of political uncertainty and turmoil terminated four 
years later by the elevation of Porfirio Diaz (i 830-191 5) 
to the presidency. His pacification of the country gave 
opportunity to a fresh growth of literary effort, especially 
in the theater. Like the other literature of this decade 
the drama dealt mainly with Mexican history. The most 
successful and popular dramatist, who for his work was 
dubbed "the restorer of the theater," was Jose Peon y ^ 
Contreras (1843-1909). 

A native of Yucatan he came to Mexico to study medi- 
cine, but in his leisure moments tried his hand at narrative 
verse and the prose tale as well as the drama. The com- 
pHcated and tragic plots of his plays are laid during the 
colonial period. The personages speak the language of 
exalted passions and are much alike. In fact the author 


wrote too much and too swiftly for anything else to be 
the case. However, the public was charmed by the love- 
lorn maids and romantic gallants whose tragic stories 
were presented to its attention. The titles of the dramas 
are attractive: La Hija del Rey, produced in 1876, Hasia 
el Cielo, Luchas de Honra y de Amory also of 1876; El 
Sacrificio de la Vida, Por el Joy el del Sombrero, 1878; and 
many others some of which have never been staged. 

The last named is a fair example of them all. Dofia 
Mencia loves Don Juan de Benavides but is beloved by 
Inigo, the son of a squire who died defending the honor 
of her father. The young men are about to depart from 
New Spain for the war in Flanders, liiigo because his love 
is not reciprocated, Benavides because he has learned an 
impediment preventing his marriage to Doiia Mencia. 
Higo discovers the identity of his more fortunate rival 
by recognizing the "jewel of his hat." Doiia Mencia's 
father, after Benavides had taken his farewell, finds out 
that a man has entered his daughter's apartment by means 
of the balcony. Jealous of her honor and his own he 
reproves her and decides to kill both her and himself. 
At that moment liiigo who has overheard the angry words 
enters from an adjoining room and begs to be slain as the 
guilty person. The old man reproaches him bitterly, but 
refuses to comply on account of the lad's father. "Go, 
both of you, the altar awaits you." Dofia Mencia makes 
no objection, partly because the young man has saved 
her from disgrace, partly because she thinks Benavides 
has left her forever. After the wedding ceremony while 
Dofia Mencia still wears her wedding gown, Benavides 
reappears, having obtained a dispensation from the Pope, 


and demands Dona Mencia's hand from her father. A 
glance, however, reveals to him the true state of affairs. 
It is now Inigo's turn to depart. On taking leave of his 
wife he begs her to cherish her honor. Benavides seeks a 
rendezvous with the young woman which she, after a 
struggle between duty and love, refuses. Again Benavides 
climbs over the balcony into her room. Inigo had seen 
him and pursuing him engages him in a duel. The father 
also enters and kills liiigo before he recognizes his antago- 
nist. As liiigo lies dead his nobility of conduct appears 
in sharp contrast with the behavior of Benavides. The 
latter is ignominiously kicked out of the house. 

As a narrative poet, Peon y Contreras preferred the 
same types as appear in his dramas. His earliest romances 
related episodes and traditions from the history of the 
Aztec people and portrayed their heroes and customs. 
In his Romances Dramdticos (1880) the poems are original 
in form, with few details, rapid movement and clear-cut 
characters. Their themes are love and jealousy, virtue 
and its struggle against vice, tempests of the soul arising 
from outraged honor. Dona Brenday for example, kills 
her husband through mistaken jealousy. Sancho Bermu- 
de% de Astorga kills his wife in the garden of their house 
with her lover and then goes calmly to bed. Gil spends 
his time away from home. His wife begs him not go to- 
night because this will be her last one on earth. He replies 
mockingly that he has heard that story before. On his 
way to the evening's pleasure he sees a bridal party leav- 
ing the church. Reminded thus of his own marriage vows 
he hurries home only to discover his wife's dead body. 
About to kill himself in remorse, his attention is attracted 


by the wail of the infant in the cradle. For its sake he 
resolves to live. Not less dramatic are the poems about 
Columbus and the incidents of his career in Trovas Colom" 
hinasy 188 1. Somewhat longer, but similar to his earlier 
ballads, are his Pequenos Dramas, 1887. 

The "restoration" of the theater by Peon y Contreras 
brought about public interest in the dramas of Alfredo 
Chavero (1841-1906). He was a student and professor 
of history whose researches in Mexican antiquities and 
history are embodied in several volumes. The romantic 
character of the pre-Spanish period he endeavored to pre- 
sent in dramatic form. Quetzalcoatl, produced March 24, 
1878, enacts the legendary story of that monarch. He 
is a king from the East who has substituted the cross 
for the worship of the aboriginal deities. After a series of 
misadventures in which he is worsted by his neighbors, 
he appears to his people as they are assembled to elect 
a king in his stead. To them he prophesies the coming 
of the Spaniards beneath the banner of the cross. Another 
drama, Xochitly is laid at the time of Cortes' invasion. 
Gonzalo Aiaminos, the conquistador's youthful attendant, 
is brought a wounded prisoner to the Aztec temple where 
the maiden Xochitl is servings As she nurses him back 
to health ardent love springs up between them. When 
the city is captured by Cortes, the lovers are separated. 
Xochitl is sent as a present to Marina's sister. Now 
Marina, being the mistress of Cortes, sends for her sister 
to come to Mexico. On the journey thither, the sister 
dies, but her attendants, fearful for their lives, resolve 
to substitute Xochitl. The deception succeeds. Taken 
mto Cortes' household, that amorous warrior falls in love 


with her and decides to rid himself of the querulous Marina 
by sending her away. He orders Gonzalo to accompany 
her. But the youth had already arranged an elopement 
with Xochitl. She, however, fails to keep the appointment 
on account of a riot in the city. In this disturbance 
Gonzalo is killed. In her distress Xochitl relates her 
story to Marina and reveals even to Cortes the love that 
had existed between herself and Gonzalo. Marina hands 
the unhappy girl a dagger with which she stabs herself. 
Dying she discloses her identity as the last survivor of 
the royal house, sister of Cuauhtemoc. Cortes in his 
grief over Gonzalo and Xochitl persists in his determina- 
tion to send away Marina. 

Verse writing in the early eighties is represented by 
Juan de Dios Peza (1852-1910). Apparently he strove 
to be a sort of Mexican Longfellow. Very prolific, all 
sorts of exercises in verse on all manner of topics appear 
in his volumes, published from 1874 to the Cantos del 
Hogar, 1890. Continuing the school of Rosas Moreno 
his most successful poems belong to the domestic and di- 
dactic type. Perhaps of this sort nothing in Mexican 
verse or even in the Spanish language equals his lines 
that deal with children, for example, the description in 
Fusiles y Munecas of the poet's children, Juan and Margot, 
playing, the boy with his gun of tin and the girl with her 
doll. But Peza wrote so much that was prosaic and 
trivial that his reputation as a poet was injured thereby. 
Peza went to Spain as secretary of the Mexican legation 
in 1878 and there published several articles on Mexican 
poets that aroused an interest in them among the Span- 


Landscape poetry has always been practiced by Mexi- 
cans. The classic type was revived by Joaquin Arcadio 

* Pagaza (b. 1839) whose greatest service to literature 
despite his numerous sonnets was a Castilian version of 
Landivar's great Latin poem written in the eighteenth 
century descriptive of the natural beauties of Guatemala. 

Original verse of a similar kind was written by Manuel 

• Jose Othon (i 858-1906), who must be ranked among 
Mexico's best poets for his real appreciation of nature's 
moods. Like Pagaza he chose for his favorite form of 
expression sonnets which he arranged in sequences. One 
of these, Noche rustica de Walpurgis {Sinfonia Drdmatica), 
depicts the experiences of a poet invited to leave the 
singing of arms and listen to the "things of the night.'* 
A sonnet is devoted to each experience. He sees the 
moonlight play on the foliage of an old and enormous 
tree as on a harp. In the distance, the nightingale sings, 
the river discourses garrulous and the stars reveal their 
respect for man. The cricket and the night birds lead 
to the cemetery. Witches and ghosts appear. Finally 
the cock crows, the matin bell rings, and a gunshot re- 
sounds, suggestive either of an execution or a hunter's 
escape from a wild beast. A dog alert for his master's 
safety barks. The morning light floods the earth and 
men pass to their daily avocations. 

There is in this sonnet sequence a certain gloominess of 
imagination characteristic of Mexican verse. The point 
has been well expressed by the well-known critic from 
Santo Domingo, Pedro Henriquez Urena, who writes: — 
"Just as the landscape of the high Mexican plateau, 
accentuated by the rarity of the air, rendered barren by 


the dryness and the cold, under a pale blue sky, is covered 
with gray and yellowish tones, so Mexican poetry seems 
to take its tonality from them. A moderation and a 
melancholy sentiment suggestive of twilight and autumn 
agree with that perpetual autumn of the heights very 
different from the ever fertile spring of the tropics." 

The most autumnal poet of all was Manuel Gutierrez 
Najera (1859-95), who is the incarnation of gentle melan- 
choly. Admiration of him is so great among the younger 
Mexicans that they say Gutierrez Najera is the only 
real poet bom in Mexico since Sor Juana. Perhaps they 
mean that he voiced in a preeminent degree the mental 
qualities derived by the educated Mexicans from their 
race and environment. His verses, often suggesting more 
ideas than they expressed verbally, possessed a rare musical ^ 
quality. And that marriage of music and words was his 
special contribution as a precursor of the modemista 
movement of Spanish-American literature.^ 

In his earliest poems, written before 1880, Gutierrez 
Najera followed the Catholic tradition of Pesado and 
Carpio. For this reason the Catholic element of Mexican 
society suffering severe defeat at the hands of the triumph- 
ant liberalism of such writers as Ignacio Ramirez and 
Altamirano backed by the Juarez administration hoped 
to find a champion in Gutierrez Najera. In this expecta- 
tion they were disappointed in spite of the intensely 
religious feelings of his typical poems Non omnis moriar 
and Pax animce. His attitude toward death is beauti- 
fully expressed in his elegiac poem Para entonces. 

In this poem he utters the wish to die at the decline 
* See page 452. 


of day on the high sea; where In his last moments he will 
hear only the prayer of the waves; to die when the sun 
casts its last ruddy glow on the green waters; to be like 
the sun, something luminous which is extinguished; to 
die young, when life still attracts "though we know she 
deceives us." 

In the technique of his verse Gutierrez Najera endeav- 
ored to amalgamate the French spirit and the Spanish 
form and thus produce a type of poetry which should be 
the flower of romanticism. His success was such that 
in the words of his panegyrist, Justo Sierra, "the singers 
of all Spanish America awoke in his nest and flew from 

In the grace and elegance of the poet spoke the in- 
dividuality of the man. For his modest reserve he was 
nicknamed by his friends "El Duque Job." His innate 
good taste never permitted him to carry the sensualistic 
tendency of his verse to the point of vulgarity, as, for 
example, in his playful La Duquesa Job, in which he sings 
the physical perfections of his wife. 

The same grace and good taste marked his journalistic 
work in prose. In this he was a forerunner of the modem- 
ista prose for he abandoned the heavy Spanish period 
for the lighter French style. And his clear logic and 
vehemence as a prose writer stand in sharp contrast with 
the vague sentimentality of the poet. 

In 1894 Gutierrez Najera in company with Carlos Diaz 
Dufoo founded La Revista Azul. Without reference to 
Ruben Dario's book Azul, from which, however, extracts 
were printed from time to time in this weekly review, the 
editor, "El Duque Job," explained its title thus: "Why 


blue? Because in the blue, there is sunlight; because in 
the blue, there are clouds; and because in the blue, hopes 
fly in flocks. Blue is not merely a color, it is a mystery/' 
Later to defend the purely artistic purpose of the maga- 
zines from the critics who assailed his adherence to French 
models, he wrote, "Whoever would cultivate art must 
get his supplies from France where art lives a more in- 
tense life than elsewhere." The review concerned itself 
only with works of literary art in prose and verse. News 
items were rigidly excluded. Even the death of Gutierrez 
Najera himself received scant attention. 

Frequent contributors were Luis G. Urbina (b. 1867), 
Jose Juan Tablada (b. 1871) and Rafael de Zayas Enri- 
quez; but the names of nearly every writer interested in 
the modemista movement appear in its pages, even that 
of the Andalusian poet Salvador Rueda, through whom 
the spirit of the new poetry passed into Spain. 

Another Mexican poet whose manner was widely 
imitated outside of his own country was Salvador Diaz 
Miron (b. 1855). His originality lay in the fiery elo- 
quence of his verses and their spirit of revolt. He came 
from the hot region of Vera Cruz, which may explain in 
part his torrid pugnacity and sensuality. Moreover, he 
cultivated the quatrain as a form of verse expression, 
till he put on it a personal stamp. Later he developed 
certain theories of prosody in which others have not fol- 
lowed him, so that his more recent poems exhibit a second 
mannerism peculiar to Diaz Miron. ^ 

The landscape school of poetry so ably represented 
by Othon has had many followers in Mexico, for example, 
^Seepage 452. 


Luis G. Urbina and Rafael L6pez. Urbina's excellent 
verse is exhibited in his Poema del Lago and El Poema del 
Mariel. The latter was inspired by the marine scenery 
and fisher folk of Cuba where the poet sought refuge 
during the recent upheaval in Mexico. Both poems are 
sonnet sequences, pictures of landscapes and life with the 
thoughts suggested by them in the mind of the poet. 

To the modernista movement Mexico not only contrib- 
uted Gutierrez Najera, Diaz Mir6n, Urbina but also 
^Enrique Gonzalez Martinez (b. 1871), Alfonso Reyes, and 
especially Amado Nervo (b. 1870).^ Writers of verse have 
at all times been so numerous in Mexico that space forbids 
mention of all. 

The naturalistic doctrine of novel writing found in 
Mexico ready imitators upon a promising field. Among 
the first of these was Jose L6pez Portillo y Rojas (b. 
1850), for a short time minister for foreign affairs under 
General Huerta, 1914. His father being a wealthy and 
eminent lawyer, the son enjoyed the advantages of a 
good education and wide travel in Europe and the Orient 
of which he has left a record in Impresiones de' Viaje. 
Knowledge of his own country he has set forth in his 
novels. In La Parcela he offered a study of the morbid 
affection for land displayed by the native proprietors. 
Don Pedro Ruiz, a rich Indian, has an only son, Gonzalo, 
twenty-three years of age who is engaged to marry 
Ramona, the only daughter of Don Miguel Diaz. The 
latter is envious of Don Pedro's wealth, so at the sugges- 
tion of a shyster lawyer he seizes a lot of land adjoining 
his own property. When the matter is carried into court, 
* See page 469. 


the boundary line is determined by means of bribing the 
judge in Don Miguel's favor. In a higher court, however, 
the same means resecures the property for Don Pedro. 
Don Miguel then attempts to injure his wealthy neighbor 
by various mean and underhand methods such as assas- 
sinating his tenants and breaking a dam that impounds 
water for driving the latter's mills. During all these 
quarrels of the parents, the lovers are naturally having 
a hard time, but at last a sudden reconciliation permits 
their marriage and an end of the story. 

The devious ways by which men rise in Mexican politics, 
the eagerness for disorder and revolution prevailing 
among the lower classes in Mexico, the peculiarities of 
Mexican journalism are all set forth in a four-volume novel 
by Emilio Rabasa (b. 1856). Each volume is really 
complete in itself but the four relate the fortunes of Juan 
Quiiiones, in love with the niece of Don Mateo, all na- 
tives of an obscure village. Don Mateo, however, is 
carried upward on fortune's wheel while Juan comes 
trailing after. In spite of the uncle's increasing ambi- 
tions for his niece, Juan finally wins her. The author, 
Emilio Rabasa, represented Mexico at the ABC con- 
ference at Niagara in 19 14. 

A popular writer who followed the changes in taste 
was Rafael Delgado (1853-1914). His first literary efforts 
were plays written and produced during the great dramatic 
revival of the lat e seventie s. La Caja de Dulces is a drama 
in three acts, which made his friends so enthusiastic 
that they presented him with a crown of silver and a gold 
pen. The following year, 1879, he produced a translation 
of Feuillet's line Case de Conscience. Living in his native 


province of Vera Cruz, he became a very active member 
of a literary society, la Sociedad Sanchez Oropesa, which 
met monthly under the leadership of Silvestre Moreno 
Cora, then rector of the college of Orizaba. Delgado's 
stories and sketches were printed in the newspapers of 
Vera Cruz and have been collected in book form. They 
are written in a manner that suggests Daudet's but deal 
realistically with the types of humanity in his province, as 
"el Caballerango" and "la Gata," by which local terms 
the stable boy and the maid servant are known. The 
stories contain realistic views of the hard and degraded 
existence led by the lower classes. Historical traditions 
also form part of his sketches written at this time. 

In novel writing Delgado began by an imitation of 
Jorge Isaacs' romantic idyll Maria. Delgado's love idyll 
Angelina appears to be a chapter from the author's per- 
sonal experience. Its hero, Rodolfo, is dependent on two 
aged aunts who have sent him away to school. When he 
returns to their house to undertake his duty of supporting 
ihem, he finds that they have taken under their protection 
at the solicitation of the parish priest an orphan girl, 
Angelina. The young people fall in love with each other. 
After some months of innocent and idyllic intercourse 
they are separated because the priest recalls Angelina 
to his own house while Rodolfo goes to service on the 
estate of a rich proprietor by the name of Fernandez. 
This man has a beautiful daughter, Gabriela, possessed 
of extraordinary talent in piano playing. Rodolfo falls 
in love with her, though at the same time he retains his 
aflFection for Angelina. Her correspondence with him is 
a careful study of feminine passion. At last, she learns 


Rodolfo's attentions to Gabriela. Then Angelina resolves 
to become a sister of charity and writes the recreant lover 
a very beautiful letter of renunciation. Gabriela, how- 
ever, has paid httle or no attention to Rodolfo and finally 
banishes him absolutely from her presence. Rodolfo seeks 
solace in work. 

Delgado's later novels followed more closely the ideas 
of the naturalistic school. Los Parientes Ricos is a satire 
on the customs of the middle class, while Calandria is 
a picture of lower-class manners. In the latter Carmen 
is the natural daughter of a man of the world, Eduardo 
Ortiz de Guerra who attempts to repair his fault by money. 
She is thus brought up to a love of luxury beyond her 
station in life and consequently falls an easy victim to the 
seductions of the rich Alberto Rojas though she is being 
honorably courted by an honest young carpenter Gabriel. 
Their last interview in the garden is very touchingly de- 
scribed and is excelled in tragic pathos only by the scene 
in which Gabriel is at work building her coffin after her 
amour with Alberto has brought Carmen to her death. 
This novel is praised by the professor Moreno Cora for 
its "admirable exactness" in the portrayal of contemporary 
manners, and he asserts that he has known many men like 
the sinning and grief-stricken father, Eduardo Ortiz. 

The field of politics and social strife is claimed by an 
interesting novel, Pacotillas, written by Porfirio Parra 
(b. 1855), who is also the author of a long ode on mathe- 
matics somewhat in the style of Acufia, his friend and fel- 
low student of medicine. The novel ostensibly follows 
the fortunes of four young men friends. One of them, el 
Chango, rises by toadyism in politics and marries great 


wealth. Pacotillas is a sort of modern picaro who drinks 
hard and lives with Amalia without marrying her, some- 
times in comfortable circumstances and sometimes in 
great poverty. By antagonizing the government in 
articles which he published in the papers, 'he is thrown 
into prison where he finally dies. Like his prototype, 
el Periquillo Sarniento, he takes the reader through various 
classes of Mexican society. 

In some respects the best writer and the closest adher- 
ent to the French naturalistic was Federico Gamboa (b. 
1864). From early youth Gamboa lived abroad and was 
connected with the Mexican diplomatic service in many 
capitals including Washington. His literary work began 
by adapting French vaudevilles and he has written several 
original plays of not much consequence. As a novelist, 
however, he has been fairly prolific and successful. A 
volume of sketches, Esbozos contempordneos, brought him 
a nomination as corresponding member to the Royal 
Spanish Academy. The first novel to bring him into 
international notice was published during his sojourn in 
Buenos Aires in 1892, Apariencias, which may be briefly 
described as a Mexican variation of the universal theme of 

The scene of this novel is laid in a small village during 
the French occupation under Maximilian. A realistic 
picture of the farcical court proceedings in which judges 
and defenders speak different languages without inter- 
preters opens the story. A youth, Pedro, is successfully 
defended upon the charge of being a spy though his father 
is condemned and executed. The reader's sympathy is 
thus thoroughly aroused and made ready to share the 


intense patriotism of the pages descriptive of the retreat 
of the French army from a town occupied only by women, 
children and old men. Pedro's defender, the lawyer 
Don Luis, a man some fifty years of age, is so greatly 
touched by the lad's orphan helplessness that he takes 
him to his home in the city of Mexico and adopts him. 
The lawyer's sister, Magdalena, falls in love with the boy. 
In the meantime the susceptible lawyer also falls in love 
with the young daughter of a client and marries her. 
The wife Elena and Pedro thus brought into intimacy 
succumb to a guilty attraction to each other. The lad 
is thus false to his benefactor and adoptive father and to 
his first love, Magdalena. The amour progresses rather 
openly until the couple are surprised by the outraged 
husband, who instead of following the time-honored cus- 
tom of killing the guilty ones condemns them to live. 
The course of this affair is related with psychological 
minuteness in the manner of Bourget just as the military 
scenes imitate the intensity of Zola. Realistic also are 
certain pictures of Mexican life such as the wedding break- 
fast in a public cafe and the description of Mexico City 
at night when the public places are full of joyous revellers. 
The title of "dissector of souls" conferred on Gamboa 
by his critics was confirmed by Suprema Ley, published 
in 1896. The soul in this case belongs to Julio Ortegal, 
a poor law clerk, whose wife. Carmen, is the hard working 
mother of six children. Julio, to his destruction, comes into 
contact with Clothilde, a siren, who has been thrown into 
jail on suspicion of murdering her lover who had in reality 
committed suicide. Julio is infatuated to the extent that 
when Clothilde is acquitted he abandons his wife and 


children to follow her. Though a consumptive he works 
overtime to pay for her extravagances. Finally, however, 
she casts him off. Julio broken in spirit and body returns 
to his family in time to die. 

Gamboa's ability to write was brought sharply to the 
attention of the North American public when he was 
secretary for foreign affairs for provisional President 
Huerta. The unassailable logic of his masterly replies 
to the first notes of our Department of State demanding 
Huerta's resignation elicited widespread admiration. 



To say that Cuban literature is wholly a literature of 
revolution would be an exaggeration. But in verses 
sufficiently innocent in appearance to escape the censor's 
pencil often lurked a thought that was evident to the 
patriot. If the word "libertad" occurring in a drama was 
deleted by the censor who substituted "lealtad," nobody 
was deceived; for a patriot liberty presupposes loyalty. 
Again the lover's melancholy on account of his sweet- 
heart's illness might be a thin disguise for the poet's 
lament over Cuba prostrate beneath the oppressor's heel. 

Verse undoubtedly was written with a purely artistic 
intent. In fact the bulk of verse produced in Cuba was 
so great that its very quantity has been explained as due 
to the political disability of the people. 

Prose on the other hand was generally a weapon in the 
fight for separation from Spain. Though some of it was 
journalistic and some oratorical, the censor's eye was too 
keen to allow every dry-as-dust title prefixed to a pas- 
sionate protest against some act of the authorities to pass 
unchallenged. Consequently there sprang up and flour- 
ished a form of literature, essentially Cuban in its fullest 
development, the political tract. It could be circulated 
secretly and even printed in a foreign country and smug- 
gled into Cuba. 



The first revolutionary, in whose lines Cubans sought 
and always found inspiration was also the greatest of 
Cuban poets, Jose Maria Heredia. As his work and early 
banishment occurred during the period of revolution in 
the rest of Spanish America, he has been considered else- 
where. While his fame was widespread beyond the seas, 
the same upheaval which caused his expulsion from Cuba 
brought about that also of a man, Felix Varela y Morales 
(1788-1853), whose reputation and influence remained 
pecuHarly and locally Cuban. His importance to the 
cause of separatism lay, not in the emotional appeal of 
poetry but in the persuasive power of abstract reasoning. 

To Felix Varela the Cubans pay the tribute of saying 
that he taught them to think. He is the first of a notable 
line of teachers who shaped Cuban mentality. An in- 
tellectually brilliant young priest, professor of Latin, 
philosophy and science at the University of Havana, 
Varela began his innovations by giving instruction in the 
vernacular. In 1820 the famous society, Los Amigos del 
Pais, founded in Havana in 1793 and still in active exist- 
ence, resolved to establish a professorship of public law 
and this chair was won in public competition by Varela. 
Soon thereafter he was elected a deputy to the Cortes of 
Cadiz dispersed by Fernando VH in 1823 for its liberal 
tendencies. Though Varela was one of the proscribed 
deputies marked for arrest, he succeeded in reaching 
Gibraltar and from there New York. He took up his 
residence in Philadelphia and began to issue a periodical. 
El Habanero, eagerly read in Cuba. Though this journal 
was short-lived, in others he continued to exert an influence 
on the affairs of the island till the day of his death. He 

CUBA 375 

died and was buried in St. Augustine, Florida, where his 
tomb became a shrine of pilgrimage for patriotic Cubans. 
After their independence was won, in gratitude for his 
work they removed his bones to Cuba. 

Varela in his philosophical teaching urged less attention 
to abstractions and more to the study of things. He 
proclaimed the right of human reason to investigate for 
itself. He preached against fanaticism and for tolerance 
in religious thought, especially against that abuse of 
religion which made it an aid to political despotism. 

When only Cuba of all the vast extent of Spanish 
possessions in America was left to Spain, the island began 
to enjoy great prosperity on account of the relaxation 
in the rigor of the laws concerning trade. Moreover, an 
immigration of loyalists from the rest of Spanish America 
swelled the number of the population. Assisted by this 
naturally loyalist disposition of the people the wiser and 
freer colonial policy of the Spanish government made all 
but a few irreconcilables incline favorably toward Spain. 
Dwellers in Cuba felt themselves Spaniards rather than 
Cubans. Even the outbursts of Heredia against the hang- 
ing of the Spanish rebel leader Rafael del Riego were 
delivered more as the protests of a Spaniard than of a 
Cuban in spite of their possible local application. More- 
over, the stimulus to literary endeavor came from Spanish 

In 1830 when the childless Fernando VH married Maria 
Cristina, the Spanish poet Quintana addressed the royal 
pair an ode which was nothing more or less than a hymn 
to liberty. To Cubans his words seemed an augury of a 
new epoch. Cuban poets imitated even the form of the 



verses. The society, Amigos del Pais, was moved to 
establish a literary section, of which Domingo del Monte, 
who was later to be a sort of Cuban Maecenas, was made 
secretary. When the little heiress known to history as 
Isabel II was bom, the society held a poetic contest which, 
being the first of the kind in Cuba, aroused great enthu- 
siasm among the youth. 

The first prize was awarded to Jose Antonio Echeverria 
(1815-84), then a lad of sixteen. Shortly thereafter he 
became an editor of a literary journal. El Planted in which 
appeared several of the important literary productions of 
this period. Though Echeverria wrote other poems and 
some prose tales, notably Antonelli, he became more 
prominent in later life for his active participation in 
separatist politics. 

Maria Cristina as queen regent awakened great expec- 
tations. In 1834 she appointed as her prime minister the 
poet Francisco Martinez de la Rosa (i 789-1 852), who had 
just produced his masterpiece, the romantic drama. La 
Conjuracion de Venecia. Again in Cuba there was re- 
joicing among the poets for they thought the queen regent 
and her minister would favor a more liberal policy in the 
government of Cuba. The best of the Cuban verses were 
gathered in a volume with the title of Aureola Poetica and 
sent to Martinez de la Rosa. The sponsor for this volume 
was Ignacio Valdes Machuca (i8cx>-5i) more praise- 
worthy as a patron of letters than as a poet. Still his 
little volume of youthful effusions, Ocios poeticos, pub- 
lished in 1 819, makes a date in Cuban literature. In mate- 
rial ways also Valdes Machuca assisted striving poets. 
The most notable instance was that of the negro poet. 

CUBA 377 

Jose Francisco Manzano, a slave. He succeeded in raising 
a subscription of five hundred dollars with which he 
bought the man's freedom. This occurrence seemed so 
sensational to J. R. Madden, an English judge in the 
mixed court in Havana, that he published an English 
translation of several of Manzano's poems. 

In the liberal constitution granted to Spain by Maria 
Cristina in 1834, Cuba expected to have her part. But 
the degree of freedom allowed her was by vote of the 
Cortes denied and the Cuban deputies were excluded. 
Moreover, the despotic Miguel Tacon was appointed 
Governor of Cuba and given absolute powers of repression. 
To the conduct of his office from 1834 to 1839 may be 
ascribed a rapid growth of separatist sentiment in Cuba. 

Coincident with Tacon's administration was the first 
flourishing period of Cuban literature due to a literary 
circle which formed about the person of Domingo del 
Monte (1804-54). H^ was wealthy and allied to aristo- 
cratic families in Spain. Del Monte's letters to his brother- 
in-law, Jose Luis Alfonso, form an excellent picture and 
chronicle of events in Havana during the governorship 
of Tacon. Before the latter's arrival Del Monte*s patron- 
age of Cuban letters was purely literary, but when the 
tyrannous acts of the governor excited his disgust, it 
assumed a political aspect. 

Poetry was Del Monte's passion though he himself 
wrote but indifferent verses. It was Del Monte who 
called the attention of the great Spanish critic Alberto 
Lista to Heredia's poems by sending him a copy of them 
with a request for an opinion. It was to Del Monte that 
Heredia dedicated "in testimony of unalterable affection" 


the second part of his poems as arranged in the edition 
of Toluca. While in the United States Del Monte had 
printed at Philadelphia, 1828, a collection of thfe poems 
of the Spanish heroic poet Gallego. And on taking up his 
residence in Havana, Del Monte's house became a center 
for poetic endeavor. 

One of the first poets to receive his encouragement was 
Ramon Velez y Herrera (1808-86), who published a little 
volume of poems in 1833 which attracted attention be- 
cause it was the first book of poetry printed in Cuba since 
the Ocios PoHicos of Valdes Machuca, in 18 19. Velez y 
Herrera worked according to an idea which Del Monte 
suggested in the phrase "cubanizar la poesia." This 
meant the development of the rude art of the "guajiros," 
the white country people of Cuba, who, descended from 
the peasants of Andalusia and Estremadura, preserved 
the custom at social gatherings of improvising verses on 
local events. Accordingly Velez depicted the life of the 
guajiros, their horse races, cock fights, boating contests, 
dances, and love affairs. In 1840 he combined a handful 
of similar poems into a connected narrative, Elvira de 
Oquendo los Amores de una guajira. This luckless maiden 
in love with Juan receives his attentions against the 
wishes of her parents. Juan persuades Elvira to elope. 
Pursued by her father's retainers, Juan is forced into a 
fight in which he kills several of them, but he is taken 
prisoner, tried and executed for murder. Elvira wander- 
ing about alone is finally found, but when taken into her 
father's presence she falls dead. The reader, however, 
does not feel very poignant grief at the sorrows of the 
unfortunate pair, because he is being constantly enter- 

CUBA 379 

tained by digressions concerning the customs of the coun- 
try. In 1856 Velez y Herrera published a new collection 
of similar poems in his Romances Cubanos, but the public 
was tired of poetic cock fights. 

Utilization of popular poetry was also practiced dur- 
ing the thirties, quite independently of Del Monte's in- 
fluence, by Francisco Poveda y Armenteros, an almost 
illiterate peon living in the eastern end of the island. In 
spite of his gift for song, his verses being scattered among 
various newspapers which had published them over the 
pen name of " El Trovador Cubano," he would probably 
have remained in oblivion, had not some enthusiastic 
young lovers of poetry discovered him when an old man, 
and to relieve his poverty brought about the production, 
in 1879, of a sort of drama of his, El Peon de Bayamo. 

The most popular poet developed in Del Monte's circle 
was Jose Jacinto Milanes (1814-63). Though he began 
to publish verses at the age of twenty-three, his period of 
literary production was terminated in seven years in 
1843 by his becoming insane. He put Del Monte's liter- 
ary theories into practice by giving his poems a setting 
amid the tropical beauty of the Cuban landscape. Thus 
he taught later poets the value of local color. At the 
same time he believed in making poetry the handmaid 
of morality. In this respect, especially in his choice of 
topics, he seems to modern critics to have exceeded the 
limits of good taste. A third characteristic of his lines 
was his sentimental melancholy. His most famous poems 
illustrate these peculiarities. 

La Madrugada offers to the poet the beauty of the 
dawn, but since he has seen a certain beautiful woman. 


who, however, scorns his advances, he has no eyes for 
nature because the sight of two doves, two stars, two 
waves, or two clouds reminds him of his "continual soli- 
tude." In La Fuga de la TSrtola, the poet laments the 
flight of his turtle dove and though he approves her pas- 
sionate longing for liberty, he feels he will die unless she 
returns. El Beso presents the poet sitting beside a beau- 
tiful young girl "at night in a cool garden"; the situation 
inspires him with a desire to kiss her; he goes so far as to 
seize her hand but is deterred from his intention by the 
thought that, although his own kiss is pure, another 
man's kiss might prove her ruination. "I went away in 
peace, a tear of sweetness bathed my face." El Exposito, 
originally printed in the little periodical. El Plantel, made 
a sensation. A critic objected to the poem on the ground 
that not all illegitimate children grew up depraved and 
vicious. Milanes stoutly defended both the logic and the 
morality of his teaching that an abandoned and illegiti- 
mate child could scarcely avoid being a criminal. In El 
Miron Cubano the author appears as a sort of doctor of 
morality who offers his advice to those who bring their 
troubles to him. This poem in dialogue form is a series 
of observations and criticisms of Milanes' fellow towns- 
men in the city of Matanzas. 

These moral, or philosophical, poems as their author 
termed them abound in touches descriptive of Cuban 
life undoubtedly true of the epoch in which they were 
written. It was even possible for contemporary readers 
to name the individuals who served as models. The local 
color and the real musical quality of the Hnes has made 
Milanes' poems popular among his countrymen. In 

CUBA 381 

the words of Zenea: — "They glide along like the still 

Milanes also wrote a drama, El Conde Alarcos, which 
aroused enthusiasm among his friends. This is a roman- 
tic drama in the manner of the Spaniard Garcia Gutierrez. 
The Conde Alarcos, a prisoner of war of the King of 
France, is allowed, through the influence of the Princess 
Blanche in love with the count, to revisit his country after 
pledging his word of honor that he will return. During 
his visit he is married to a Spanish lady. When, however, 
the Princess Blanche learns this fact, she is unwilling to 
give up the count, though he has proved so faithless to the 
favors she had bestowed on him in his captivity. She 
persuades her father, the king, to procure the assassina- 
tion of the innocent wife in order that she may herself 
marry the count. 

Under Del Monte's influence, Milanes wrote a few 
verses with political significance, but Del Monte's own 
political writings were in prose. He is perhaps the initia- 
tor of the political tract, that form of literature so flourish- 
ing in the peculiar circumstances of Cuban life. His most 
important effort was La Isla de Cuba tal cual estd. Written 
in 1836 to refute a pamphlet by a Spaniard, F. Guerra 
Bethencourt, who praised the condition of the island, 
Del Monte's tract was an honest protest against the harsh 
methods of the colonial governor, Miguel Tacon. 

It was followed the next year by the famous Paralelo 
entre la isla de Cuba y algunas colonias inglesas, by Jose 
Antonio Saco (i 797-1 879). The main argument of this 
tract was that a union with Great Britain or the United 
States would be an advantage to Cuba. The governor 



Tacon reported these pamphlets to the government of 
Spain as the work of "pernicious men." 

Jose Antonio Saco, suffering banishment by order of 
Tacon, became in a literary way one of the foremost 
champions of the cause of Cuban independence. In early 
life he was a brilliant scholar, one of the chief opponents 
of Felix Varela in the contest for the professorship of 
public law, and Varela's successor ,in that chair when the 
latter went to Spain as Cuban member of the Cortes. In 
the United States he was Varela's partner in literary 
enterprises. In 1832, Saco being in Havana, they edited 
the celebrated Revista himestre Cub ana. Regarding the 
literary merit of this review, George Ticknor, the his- 
torian of Spanish letters, wrote to Del Monte under 
date of April 24th, 1834: — "I have been struck ever since 
I first began to read the Revista bimestre Cubana with the 
amount of literary talent and accomplishment in your 
island. Nothing to be compared with it, has, so far as 
I am informed, ever been exhibited in any of the Spanish 
colonies and even in some respects, nothing like it is to 
be seen in Spain. A review of such spirit, variety and 
power has never been even attempted at Madrid." 

The government at Madrid had authorized the estab- 
lishment in Havana of an Academia de Literatura; but 
to General Tacon such a society seemed a gathering of 
malcontents and he forbade it. At the same time he 
ordered Saco to leave the island. The immediate cause 
for his expulsion was his attack on African slavery, the 
source of many evils in Cuba. From his first writings 
against the slave trade grew a book, Historia de la Esclavi- 
tudj to which he devoted his leisure for thirty years be- 

CUBA 383 

fore its complete publication. Saco returned to Cuba 
only in 1861, and then merely for a short visit. But he 
kept in touch with the affairs of the island. When the 
political situation became acute about 1850, he wrote 
some of his most famous tracts, and again in 1865 when 
reforms by Spain seemed imminent he came into public 
notice. Even after his death extracts from his book on 
slavery served in the literary fight preparing the success- 
ful revolution of 1895. Thus Saco's life and writings 
correspond to a long epoch in Cuban history. 

Before passing on, however, a word must be said about 
Del Monte's influence on prose literature other than 
political. "Without doubt Domingo del Monte y Aponte 
was one of the persons to whom Cuban letters must be 
most grateful."^ By example Del Monte tried to demon- 
strate the literary value of fiction, but in this department 
he was surpassed by two young men in his circle, Anselmo 
Suarezy Romero (1818-78) and Cirilo Villaverde (1812- 
94). Both wrote with the inspiring idea of realistically 
depicting Cuban life. 

Suarez y Romero as the painter of Cuban customs is 
one of the foremost Cuban writers of prose. By Del 
Monte's advice he chose to write articles on manners in 
which he should touch on evils that ought to be cor- 
rected. What Milanes was doing in verse Suarez contin- 
ued in prose. His Coleccion de Articulos, published in 1857, 
aroused such enthusiasm for its excellent diction that it 

1 D. Figarola Caneda in Cuba Contemporanea, Vol. V, 433. To Senor 
Figarola Caneda, the distinguished Hbrarian of the Cuban national 
library, Cuban letters are indebted for many literary studies, such as 
is BiUiografxa de R. Merchan. 


was adopted in the Colegio de San Salvador as a text for 
lessons in reading. The evil which Suarez mainly attacked 
was negro slavery. In 1838 appeared his first tale Fran- 
cisco, the dramatic story of a pair of lovers, negro slaves, 
who for frivolous reasons are forbidden to marry. This 
act of their wealthy mistress results in much misfortune. 
When the young woman passes into the possession of 
the owner's son, Francisco hangs himself. The local 
color of the whole tale and especially the portrait of 
the old stage driver was greatly praised by the poet 

The same theme of African slavery is the basis of 
Cirilo Villaverde's story Cecilia Vald'es. On account of 
its length and its purpose of depicting the whole of Cuban 
society from the Captain General down to the humble 
negro it well deserves the name of the first Cuban novel. 
Cecilia is a beautiful mulattress the daughter of an igno- 
rant and vulgar Spaniard enriched by the slave trade. 
His legitimate son, Leonardo, ignorant of the blood tie 
which unites him to Cecilia falls in love with her, suc- 
cessfully baffling his father's efforts to keep them apart. 
A mulatto, Pimienta, is also in love with Cecilia, who, 
proud of Leonardo's wooing, scornfully rejects the humble 
suitor. A day arrives* when Leonardo marries a young 
lady of his own class. Cecilia, mad with jealousy, incites 
Pimienta to attack the couple on their way to church 
for the wedding ceremony. Pimienta stabs Leonardo. 

This novel, left unfinished by its author in 1839, was 
completed forty years later. It has been called a photo- 
graph of Havana in the thirties, because it minutely 
relates real events, giving the names of the persons con- 

CUBA 385 

cemed. The Captain General is not spared but appears 
in the act of granting an audience at a cockfight to which 
sport he is much attached. The guajiro bravo and as- 
sassin and the negro Tonda employed by the governor 
for underhand enterprises are also types of the period. 
The rich slave trader Gamboa who buys a title of nobility 
and his spendthrift and worthless son spoiled by an in- 
dulgent mother are drawn from life. 

The negro problem soon after the period described in 
this story, took on extreme significance in Cuban politics. 
Connected with this problem was the personal fate of 
one of Cuba's leading poets who though a mulatto was 
received at Del Monte's tertulias. His execution on sus- 
picion of being a leader in a negro uprising has lent an 
additional interest to his poems. 

Gabriel de la Concepcion Valdes (1809-44), com- 
monly known by his pen name "Placido" was the son 
of a Spanish dancing girl and a mulatto hair dresser. 
Following the condition of his mother he was free but 
therefore compelled to earn his living. He learned the 
trade of making tortoise shell combs. Somebody taught 
him to read and his acquaintances loaned him books. A 
volume of Martinez de. la Rosa's poems incited him to 
attempt the composition of verse, whereby he discovered 
that he possessed a real gift of song. A druggist, Fran- 
cisco Placido Puentes, supplied him with writing ma- 
terials and an opportunity to write in his store. In return 
he selected " Placido*' as a pen name. Some say, however, 
that the name was derived from Madame de Genlis' 
novel Placido y Blanca. He was introduced into the 
circle of Valdes Machuca by Velez y Herrera. Thus he 


became one of the poets who composed the Aureola 
Pokica in honor of Martinez de la Rosa. Placido's con- 
tribution, La Siempreviva, was considered the best poem 
in the garland. At any rate the minister wrote a personal 
letter of thanks to his poor mulatto admirer. 

Placido's earlier poems and perhaps the majority of 
those in the volume of his collected verses are occasional 
in character, birthday congratulations, condolences and 
the like. According to some, he was all too ready to pur- 
chase crumbs of favor by reciting at evening parties such 
verses as he had written for the occasion. Milanes prob- 
ably referred to him as El Poeta envilecido in the lines 
reproaching an unnamed poet for degrading his art by 
singing at the magnate's feast "without shame or sense, 
and disputing a bone with the mastiff." But there is 
rich grain among the chaff of Placido*s work. 

Among the purely lyrical pieces are some letrillas with 
such fragrant titles as La Flor del Cafe, La Flor de la Pina, 
La Flor de la Cana. These alone have carried Placido's 
name over Spanish America. They are not descriptive 
but are little pictures of native life and love making, in 
which the words of the title serve as a refrain. 

Among Placido's compositions with a historical theme 
is a remarkable romance, Xicontencal, remarkable because 
the author has quite caught the spirit and movement of 
the old Spanish ballads. Xicontencal, a young Tlascalan 
chief who has just triumphed over the warriors of Monte- 
zuma, is being carried in a litter through his native city. 
His eye happens to rest on some Aztec prisoners bound 
to stakes in preparation for their burning alive. Leaping 
down, the young chief frees the prisoners, bidding them 

CUBA 387 

return to Mexico with the message that his victories will 
not be stained by such cruelties as their monarch prac- 
tices, but he is ready to fight him even at the odds of one 
to three hundred. 

To a talented man in the social position of Gabriel de 
la Concepcion Valdes, whose very name, according to the 
custom of the foundling asylum which had sheltered his 
infancy, commemorated the charity of the good bishop 
who established the asylum, life must at times have seemed 
very bitter. An expression of such feelings can at least 
be read into some of his poems. In the beautiful lines on 
La Palma y la Mahay the insignificant mallow nestling 
in the grass of a lofty hill is full of pride at her position 
and speaks with condescension to the palm tree on the 
plain below. With head erect the palm replies: — "Do 
you consider yourself the greater merely because you 
were bom in a high place.? The place where you happen 
to be is great, not you." 

His feelings about liberty, expressed with all the ardor 
of African blood, are Tevealed in a sonnet on the death 
of the tyrant Gessler. It pictures Tell standing exultant 
over the quivering corpse of the tyrant and holding his 
bow as a symbol of liberty. More explicit are the poet's 
words in verses to the Mexican general, Adolfo de la Flor, 
which he is to read on reaching Mexican soil. "Go, yes, 
go to the shores where liberty is; and on arriving at the 
beach, draw forth my verses, bend your knee and touch 
them three times to the earth. Since my ill fortune and 
the seas prevent my enjoying the divine essence, may 
my songs enjoy it. And when you learn of my death, 
5end dust moistened with your tears in a litter to some 


faithful friend and that shall be the most precious flower 
with which you can adorn my tomb." 

As the author of such verses and a prominent member 
of the African race it was natural that Placido should fall 
under the suspicion of the authorities when, in 1844, they 
scented a negro uprising. Moreover, he was denounced 
as the author of certain patriotic lines circulating in manu- 
script. With ten others he was thrown into prison. After 
a sort of trial he was condemned to die. He had stoutly 
defended his innocence of any complicity in sinister 
plotting and expected eventually to be released. When 
however the sentence of death was announced to him he 
replied: — "I shall die singing like the Cuban nightingale." 
On the way to the place of execution he did recite verses 
of his own composition. After his death there were put 
into circulation three fine poems whose excellence combined 
with the tragic circumstance of his end did more to confer 
on him the name of real poet than all the remainder of 
his work. 

The shortest is a sonnet, Despedida a mi Madre, in which 
he bids his mother not to grieve, for his lyre utters its 
last sound to her memory while the mantle of religion 
covers him. In the Adios a mi Lira he expressed in noble 
words the consolation which the cultivation of poetry 
had been to him. His lyre, he declared, will not remain 
in the dust of a vile prison; he begs God to accept it. He 
has dreamed of a world of pure glory and justice which 
men do not understand but angels have seen, that world 
which he hopes to see within a few hours and then he will 
praise God that he has departed from this mansion of 
crimes. The final stanza runs thus: "Farewell, my lyre, 

CUBA 389 

commended to God. Farewell! I bless thee! My calm 
spirit inspired by thee scorns the cruelty of hostile fate. 
Men will see thee consecrated to-day. God and my last 
farewell remain with thee, for between God and the tomb 
one tells no lies. Farewell! I am going to die — I am 

Somewhat shorter, the Plegaria a Dios is the most 
famous of all by reason of its lofty sentiment and artistic 
form. It was said that Placido recited this prayer on the 
way to execution. It has been translated into EngHsh. 

O God of love unbounded! Lord supreme! 

In overwhelming grief to thee I fly. 

Rending this veil of hateful calumny, 

Oh let thine arm of might my fame redeem! 

Wipe thou this foul disgrace from off my brow, 

With which the world hath sought to stamp it now. 

Thou King of Kings, my fathers* God and mine. 
Thou only art my sure and strong defence. 
. The polar snows, the tropic fires intense. 
The shaded sea, the air, the light are thine: 
The life of leaves, the water's changeful tide. 
All things are thine, and by thy will abide. 

Thou art all power; all life from thee goes forth, 
And fails or flows obedient to thy breath; 
Without thee all is naught; in endless death 
All nature sinks forlorn and nothing worth. 
Yet even the Void obeys thee; and from naught 
By thy dread word the living man was wrought. 

Merciful God! How should I thee deceive? 

Let thy eternal wisdom search my soul! 

Bowed down to earth by falsehood's base control. 


Her stainless wings not now the air may cleave. 
Send forth thine hosts of truth and set her free! 
Stay thou, O Lord, the oppressor's victory! 

Forbid it, Lord, by that most free outpouring 

Of thine own most precious blood for every brother 

Of our lost race, and by thy Holy Mother, 

So full of grief, so loving, so adoring. 

Who clothed in sorrow followed thee afar. 

Weeping thy death like a declining star. 

But if this lot thy love ordains to me. 
To yield to foes most cruel and unjust, 
To die and leave my poor and senseless dust 
The scofF and sport of their weak enmity. 
Speak Thou, and then Thy purposes fulfill; 
Lord of my life, work Thou Thy perfect will. 

The three posthumous poems on which Placido's repu- 
tation as a great poet mainly depends, have given rise to 
a controversy concerning their authenticity. Manuel 
Sanguily, recently Cuban secretary of state and in early 
life an active partisan of Cuban independence, contends 
that the poems are apocryphal, basing his belief on the 
following arguments. The poems circulated in manu- 
script for some time after Placido*s execution. An eye- 
witness to his death testified that the words which the 
poet recited on the way to the place of execution were 
not those of the Plegaria, but of his sonnet, La Fatalidad, 
Moreover, during the months of his incarceration Placido 
firmly expected to be released, so that certain expressions 
in these poems do not ring true. The Despedida a mi 
madre implies that she had lost track of her son, whereas. 

CUBA 391 

it is known that mother and son maintained their rela« 
tions. Finally there is no tradition respecting the manner 
by which the poems were transmitted from the prison. 

Sanguily has not, however, revealed the name of the 
man who he believes is their author; but he has promised 
to do so when his book about Placido is ready. Sanguily 
first advanced his theory in his revolutionary journal 
Hojas literariaSy in 1893, at a time when a sensational dis- 
cussion of the famous poet's last hours would direct 
attention quite as much to the part played in them by 
the Spaniards, and to the political question in general 
as it would to the question of fact in literary history. 

Placido's death marks the end of an epoch in Cuban 
letters. Succeeding poets with the exception of Ramon 
de Palma belong to a younger generation. Ramon de 
Palma y Romay (1812-60), though he was a member of 
Del Monte's tertulia and joint editor with Echevarria of 
El Plantely followed in his later poems the new fashions. 
In using poetry to inculcate morality, Palma showed him- 
self a disciple of Milanes. In the flight of a gull, for ex- 
ample, he could find grandiose thoughts to describe the 
journey of the poet through the desert of selfish human 
society. That poem of his early period most praised by 
his friends was an ode on an epidemic of cholera which 
in 1833 ravaged the city of Havana. Against this back- 
ground he sketched the power of God. The same theme 
also served him for a prose tale full of realistic details. 
This was not the only tale which he produced, however, 
for by profession Palma was a schoolmaster who wrote 
continually for the papers both in prose and verse. He 
even essayed the drama, and it is said that he was the 


first Cuban to have a play staged. In 1837 was pro- 
duced La Prueha la Fuelta del Cruzado. Ten years 
later he had the pleasure of listening to an Italian opera 
troupe in an operetta for which he wrote the libretto. 
Una Escena del Descubrimiento de America por Colon. Of 
the poems which he wrote in his later period when the 
whisperings of liberty were beginning to stir in Cuba, the 
most important was a very excellent translation of Man- 
zoni*s famous ode on the death of Napoleon, // Cinque 
Maggio, On account of his literary activity Palma fell 
under suspicion of complicity in the troubles of 1852, 
and suffered imprisonment for a short time. 

These troubles were the outcome of the activity of a 
party which believed that a solution for Cuba's ills lay 
in the annexation of the island by the United States. 
The ferocity with which the captain general Leopoldo 
O'Donnell suppressed the supposed negro insurrection 
of 1844, spared neither whites nor blacks. Prominent 
Cubans of all classes fell under suspicion. Even Del 
Monte, at whose tertulias the negro poets Placido and 
Manzano had been welcome was accused. Fortunately 
at this time he was in Europe where influential friends 
were able to save him from disgrace. But the stern meas- 
ures of the government only fanned the flames of dis- 

Jose Antonio Saco from his safe retreat in the United 
States sent many tracts to Cuba. He had modified some- 
what his earlier views and demanded, in case Spain re- 
fused to grant reforms, absolute independence for Cuba. 
In his Ideas sohre la incorporacion de Cuba en los Estados 
UnidoSy 1848, he opposed the annexationists on the 

CUBA 393 

ground that immigration from the United States would 
bring about a gradual disappearance of Cuban nationality. 
His Situacion de Cuba y su remedio^ 1851, showed the 
necessity of granting to Cuba an ample degree of liberty; 
in default of which Spain would lose the island. He set 
forth these alternatives in the eloquent Espana concede 
a Cuba derechos politicos Cuba se pierde para Espana. 
This essay is now the classic example of Cuban political 

The annexationist party found it an easy matter to 
arouse popular enthusiasm in their favor throughout the 
United States. Besides, Southern politicians believed 
that the annexation of Cuba would provide more slave 
territory. In the island, Narciso Lopez, a native of 
Venezuela, who had been a general in Spain in the Carlist 
war, was fired by the ambition of becoming the liberator 
of Cuba. For that purpose he came to the United States 
and organized two filibustering expeditions. The first 
failed through the interference of the government of the 
United States. Despite its activities Lopez found little 
difficulty in securing in several cities parties of adven- 
turers. It is noteworthy that they enrolled under a flag 
with three blue and two white stripes, at the top of which 
was a red field bearing a single white star, the present 
emblem of free Cuba. Lopez' second expedition sailed 
from New Orleans, August 3d, 185 1. On reaching the 
Cuban coast, his steamer ran aground about sixteen miles 
from Havana. Though Lopez and the main body of 
filibusters succeeded in gaining the mountains, an Amer- 
ican colonel Crittenden and fifty others in charge of the 
equipment were captured by Spanish soldiers, taken to 


Havana and shot in the pubHc square. Lopez himself 
somewhat later suffered a like fate. 

Political agitation in the United States for the purchase 
of Cuba from Spain nevertheless continued. Bills were 
introduced into Congress appropriating money for that 
purpose though without success. Spain's attitude was 
well expressed by a Spanish minister who frankly told 
Americans who broached the subject that he believed it 
to be the feeling of his country that sooner than see the 
island transferred to any power they would prefer seeing 
it sunk in the ocean. In 1854 James Buchanan, then 
minister to Great Britain, met the American ministers to 
France and Spain, and together they formulated and 
issued a remarkable document known as the "Ostend 
Manifesto" in which they declared that "from the pe- 
culiarity of its geographical position Cuba is as necessary 
to the North American republic as any of its present 
members." Buchanan when president continually urged 
in his annual messages the purchase of the island. And 
in the presidential campaign of i860, one slogan of the 
Democrats was "Cuba must be ours." 

In Cuba, however, there was little enthusiasm at the 
idea of annexation, a fact which is sometimes given as 
the cause of Lopez' complete failure. The contribution to 
Cuban psychology made by Saco's writings in propagat- 
ing the ideal of a Cuban state is the most that came of the 
agitation of these years. For a decade the young men 
wrote verses with a minimum of political significance. 
And during the fifties there was a second flourishing period 
of Cuban poetry. 

The year 1853 witnessed the publication of an attrac- 

CUBA 395 

tlve collection of poems by four writers, in a volume en- 
titled Cuatro Laiides, by name Ramon Zambrana, J. G. 
Roldan, R. M. de Mendive and Felipe Lopez de Briiias. 
The first was a man of great culture and taste, a physician 
by profession, and a professor of the natural sciences who 
wrote much on his professional studies. As a poet Dr. 
Ramon Zambrana (1817-83), acknowledged Del Monte 
as his "master in literature" during his student days. 
To Del Monte he dedicated a volume of his poems which 
he says "are stamped by Del Monte's approval" having 
been read and criticised by the latter shortly before his 
death. The poems belong to the metaphysical type and 
deal with abstractions, the mystery of existence, light 
and harmony, or the creation. If he dwells on the beauties 
of nature it is for the purpose of drawing an allegory as in 
the tender lines of La Azucena y el Agua. The water 
addressing the lily laments that the most beautiful flower 
on her course should be surrounded by brambles. The 
sympathetic personality of the man is here revealed. His 
popularity due to his character was somewhat enhanced 
by his romantic marriage to the poetess, Dona Luisa 
Perez (bom 1837), and her agreeable qualities. Their 
acquaintance began through the reading of her first little 
volume of verses, which she published at the age of nine- 
teen. After correspondence with her, for she lived at the 
eastern end of Cuba, he paid a visit which resulted in 
their marriage, 1858. 

The freshness of her poems, redolent of the fields and 
the country, must have delighted him. His own poems 
have nothing so fragrant as El Lirio. The poetess feigns 
to have discovered a lily beside a stream running through 


a valley paved with green, whither she betakes herself 
daily to attend the treasure. Perhaps his own little 
allegory on the lily may have been suggested by her lines 
and refer to her personally. 

Jose Gonzalo Roldan (1822-56) essayed unsuccessfully 
the elevated style. In a softer mood, however, he wrote a 
most charming little poem. El Aguacero; charming for its 
tender delicacy of suggestion in rendering the situation and 
the setting. The poet explains to a trembling country girl 
that the storm which frightens her is only a passing shower; 
he invites her to keep her clothing dry by coming under 
shelter and tries to calm her agitation by calling her 
attention to the phenomena accompanying the rain and 
to the sweet odors from the vegetation. 

Nature in various moods as reflected in the sentimental 
spirit of the poet furnished the matter for the other two 
contributors to Cuatro Laudes. In florid language, Felipe 
Lopez de Brifias (1822-77) sought to render the music 
of the woods in La Miisica del Bosque or the sentiments 
inspired by the dawn, El Amanecer. His best piece. Canto 
sdficoy was addressed to his wife whom he calls in the 
opening line "Chaste dove." He bids her awake because 
the morning calls him to his daily task and pray for him. 
At work he is cheered by thinking of her. If men should 
refuse him assistance he would take her into the beautiful 
woods where they would live apart from men on the 
bounties of Providence. 

Of more sustained inspiration was Rafael Maria de 
Mendive (1821-86). Yet the verdict of a Cuban critic, 
"Mendive's lyre has but one string," has long been con- 
sidered a just characterization of his sentimental and 

CUBA 397 

melancholy poetry. His first volume of verse appeared in 
1847 with the title Pasionarias. Its contents so pleased 
our poet Longfellow that he sent an inscribed copy of his 
own poems to the Cuban bard. Shortly after, Mendive 
went to Europe by way of the United States and during 
his four years there he made the acquaintance of prom- 
inent men in France, Spain and Italy. He returned to 
Cuba possessed of a love of letters and eager to be of 
service to his native island. Thus he not only published 
the collection of poems, Cuatro Laudes, but in 1853 with 
Quintiliano Garcia founded a fortnightly, Revista de la 
Hahana. This magazine was ambitious in its scope and 
became the medium of publication for a group of young 
writers. In respect to its importance and his influence a 
Cuban has said, "After Del Monte, Mendive is the man 
who has done most to prevent the dying out of enthusiasm 
for art among us." 

His enthusiasm for poetic art led Mendive to make many 
metrical translations. His rendering of Byron's song 

I saw thee weep — the big bright tear 
Came o'er that eye of blue; 
And then methought it did appear 
A violet dropping dew, 

has long been a favorite with Cuban lovers. His versions 
of Tom Moore's Irish Melodies earned for him the so- 
briquet of the Cuban Moore. He also arranged for the 
stage Gulnara, an operatic version of Byron's Corsair. 
Original dramatic efforts of his which he made for his 
mother-in-law's theater have been forgotten. 


In this theater occurred an incident which led to Men- 
dive's banishment from Cuba. When the revolution of 
1868 broke out Mendive was the principal of a school for 
boys in Havana. In January of the following year there 
was a popular demonstration of an unusual sort in protest 
against a tyrannical proclamation of a Spanish general. 
The performance of a certain comedy in the theater 
Villanueva was attended by groups of women with their 
hair flowing loose and attired in garments of white and 
blue bespangled with stars, thus suggesting the Cuban 
revolutionary colors. Rioting and bloodshed resulted. 
Mendive was arrested by the authorities as the instigator 
of this picturesque protest and deported to Spain for four 
years' imprisonment. There, however, literary acquaint- 
ances succeeded in procuring his release. He recrossed the 
Atlantic and settled in New York where he lived in great 
poverty till permitted by the general amnesty at the close 
of the revolution to return to Cuba. 

During these years he made use, however, of his poetic 
gifts to encourage the revolution. When his son had de- 
parted on the ill-fated filibustering steamer " Virginius," he 
wrote those lines with the refrain, 

Has hecho bien, hijo mio, 
has hecho muy bien en ir 
a donde el honor te llama 
por la patria a combatir.^ 

lines in which like a father who has cheerfully given his 
own son for the cause, he strove to stimulate to patriotic 
action other Cubans living at ease in New York. An even 

* Thou hast done well, my son, thou hast done very well to go where 
honor calls thee to fight for thy country. 

CUBA 399 

severer flagellation of unpatriotic Cubans was his poem 
Los Dormidos, "these slaves of pleasure who patiently 
endure the whip on their shoulders and fetters on their 
feet." If they will not bestir themselves, "let them sleep 
on till the avenging bolt of celestial anger surprises them." 
Mendive's work as a poet, however, is more essentially 
that of a lover of nature in whom its beauties inspire a ' 
train of moral or melancholy suggestions. The favorite 
A un Arroyo is of this sort. Another favorite poem. La 
Gota de Rocioy exemplifies the delicacy of his fancy. How 
beautiful, the poet exclaims, is a drop of dew; whether it 
be on the feather of a bird or on the petal of a flower, 
whether on any of the trees of the forest or gliding among 
the roses. Perhaps it is an angel's tear. After his death 
the mysterious light of a drop of dew will illumine his name 
on his tombstone. Some thirsty bird will view it with 
rapture, a poet's tear shining on the marble. Mendive's 
tenderness is exhibited in his Sonrisa de la VirgeUy of 
which there exists this metrical translation ascribed to 

Purer than the early breeze. 
Or the faint perfume of flowers. 
Maiden! through thine angel hours 

Pass the thoughts of love; 
Purer than the tender light 
On the morning's gentle face, 
, On thy lips of maiden grace 

Plays thy virgin smile! 

Like a bird's thy rapture is. 
Angel eyes thine eyes enlighten, 
On thy gracious forehead brighten 
Flashes from above; 


Flower-like thy breathings are. 
Free thy dreams from sinful strife. 
And the sunlight of thy life 
Is thy virgin smile! 

Loose thou never, gentle child. 
Thy spring garland from thy brow. 
Through life's flowery fields, as now. 

Wander careless still; 
Sweetly sing and gaily run. 
Drinking in the morning air. 
Free and happy everywhere, 

With thy virgin smile! 

Love and pleasure are but pains," 

Bitter grief and miseries. 

Withered leaves, which every breeze 

Tosses at its will; 
Live thou purely with thy joy, 
With thy wonder and thy peace. 
Blessing life, till life shall cease. 

With thy virgin smile! 

A new type of poetry was introduced into Cuba by 
Jose Fomaris (i 829-1 890) and became so popular that 
books of verse sold by thousands in Cuba. Bethinking 
himself of the aborigines of his native island, he sang: — 

The memory of the sunburnt maids. 
With slender forms and soft black een. 
Who dwelt by murmuring cascades 
Beneath an arch of leafy green : 
Of stories of other witching days, 
Caught by surprise at the Caonao, 
Beside Bayamo as it plays. 
Or in the pure waters of Arimao. 



■^ Fomaris* Cantos de Siboney are a series of legends partly 
traditional but in large measure imaginary. Some are 
conversations between lovers, as the one entitled Eliana 
y Guanari in which the maiden is reluctant to leave her 
home but at last yields to her lover's persuasions to live 
in the beautiful valley of Yumuri. The Cacique de Ornofay 
is revealed to us disputing with Columbus. The dis- 
coverer invites him to see the splendors of Spain and the 
Spanish court, but the Indian chief refuses to believe that 
anything more beautiful in this world than his woodland 
home exists. At last the European concurs in that opinion. 
The legend of the Laguna de Ana Luisa explains the origin 
of a pool thus named. An Indian maid with the Christian 
name Ana Luisa prefers a member of the Siboney tribe to 
a Carib. The latter does not observe with as much pleas- 
ure as the reader of the poem their wooing among the 
flowers but steals treacherously upon them. With an 
arrow he slays his rival; then seizes the bride. But the 
river rising in wild indignation, overwhelms the criminal 
and buries in its waters the bodies of all three. The pool 
so formed still remains. On its banks by night the ghost 
of Ana Luisa bewails her fate. These poems are written 
with the utmost ease and simplicity of style. The author 
seemed to be able to turn out an illimitable quantity. 

His contemporaries held diverse opinions about their 
value. Dr. Zambrana was enthusiastic over the "new 
genre, because it leaves the beaten path." On the other 
hand, the poet's enemies pointed out that his local color 
did not agree with history; that he made no effort to 
depict manners and customs; that his Indians made love 
and were jealous in the conventional style; that, apart 


from the Indian canoes or piraguas and numerous names 
of places and persons, his verses differed little from any- 
body else's. Moreover, in the actual ethical composition 
of the Cuban people, the Indian element was entirely 
lacking. The many names ending in two vowels were a 
topic for sport. Probably the worst that can be truthfully 
said is that the extreme facility which he possessed in com- 
posing verses enticed him to write too many. 

He should not be blamed for the excesses of his imitators, 
however, the most notable of whom, Juan Cristobal 
Napoles Fajardo (bom 1829), "El Cuculambe" enjoyed 
considerable reputation at the eastern end of Cuba. His 
volume Rumores del Hormigo, 1857, piles up the Indian 
names in the descriptions of their love affairs. But he was 
more successful in giving literary form to the popular 
poetry and songs of the people among whom he lived, in 
both essential qualities of local color and truth. He ex- 
celled his master Fomaris as a painter of customs and the 
beauties of nature. 

Miguel Teurbe de Tolon (1820-58), without being an 
imitator of Fornaris, was at least stimulated by his ex- 
ample to bring out in 1856 a little volume entitled Ro- 
mances Cubanos in which he strove to live up to his 
doctrine that the "Cuban ballad was the true road to 
emancipation for our literature." Unfortunately he had 
very little popular history to work on, so that his ballads 
contain little that is realistic beyond the cockfights of the 
countrymen and their incorrect language. His bandits are 
not very attractive. On the other hand, some poems of 
personal inspiration are pleasing, because he wrote from 
experience. He lived an exile from Cuba for many years 

CUBA 403 

as secretary of the Cuban revolutionary junta in New 
York. He wrote for newspapers in both Spanish and 
English, so that versions of his poems exist in both lan- 
guages. He even prepared a textbook for the study of 
Spanish. The notes of inspiration in his poems are love for 
his mother, for Emilia and for his distant native land, 
whose political freedom he ardently desired. 
* Among the poems of permanent value which were first 
printed in the Revista de la Habana should be mentioned 
La Caida de Misolonghi by Joaquin Lorenzo Luaces (1826- 
67). This begins with the clarion call, 

Revenge, oh Greeks! Misolonghi in ruins 
To Ibrahim fell with all her brave; 
Let the Moslem find within her walls 
The Greek a corpse but never a slave! 

The quatrain is repeated after each octave in which the 
poet urges patriots to hasten to battle with the tyrants 
and to shed their blood for their wives and their homes. 
What is the life of a Greek.? Slow death and infamous 
slavery in which he licks the chain that binds him. Such 
language, since it was applied to faraway Greeks, was 
permitted by the Spanish censor to appear in print; but 
as Rafael Merchan remarks, the poem "has never been 
Greek to the Cubans." 

Luaces, having studied Greek, took for his model the 
Pindaric ode. Moreover, he was willing to polish his dic- 
tion till he made a good imitation. For that reason per- 
haps, he lacks the spontaneity of either Heredia or Placido 
but everybody is willing with Menendez y Pelayo to con- 
cede him the third place in the Cuban Parnassus. In his 


^symbolism, in his care for form, in his wealth of imagery, 
as in the exquisite sonnet La Salida del Cafetal, he is par 
excellence an artist. 

Beside the odes in which he concealed his love of liberty, 
under foreign names, he wrote one to Cyrus Field, 1859, 
upon cornpletion of the laying of the transatlantic cable. 
The language and the sentiments are as noble as his sub- 
ject. Field is placed among the great heroes of mankind. 
While Alexander and Caesar won their laurels by blood- 
shed. Field has achieved his glory by uniting peoples of 
different race. If Columbus overcame space and opened 
America, if Fulton with his steamboat has hastened the 
flight of time. Field has dominated both space and time. 
Mankind should honor him to the utmost and his fame 
should be perpetuated forever. 

In imitation of Milanes' moral poems, Luaces wrote 
several, the best of which is La Vida. But they do not 
contribute so much to his reputation as his dramas wherein 
perhaps he also followed the older poet's example. Taken 
from his favorite Greek history, he wrote Aristodemo. 
More in the romantic style is El Mendigo Rojo, the dram- 
atization of an incident in the legend of the Scotch king 
James IV. The legend held that the king was not killed 
at Flodden Field but, disguised as a beggar and assisted 
by his bastard son John, he wandered about his kingdom. 
The situation is very similar to that in Zorrilla's drama, 
Traidoff inconfeso y mdrtir. Another play, Arturo de 
Osherg, as well as a long poem in three cantos of epic char- 
acter on Cuba is said to have been left among Luaces' 
papers. His fame however is quite secure without these. 

In the year i860 there occurred an event which stirred 

CUBA 405 

the Cuban literary world to its depths. Cuba's most 
renowned daughter, "La Avellaneda," after twenty years 
of literary triumphs abroad, returned for a brief sojourn. 
Dona_Gertrudis Gomez de Atellaneda^ in the words of 
Enrique Pineyro, "is considered (nemine discrepante) as 
the foremost of all women who have written verses in the 
Castilian language." Her career, however, belongs wholly 
to the literary history of Spain and, except for the en- 
thusiasm and pride which it inspired, had little influence 
in the island. But her admirers gave her on this occasion 
a royal welcome. Her play. La Hija de las Flores, the 
scene of which is laid in the Antilles, was produced in the 
theater. The Liceo Habanero voted her a civic crown and 
appointed to put it on her head their resident poetess, Dofia 
Luisa Perez de Zambrana. 

Dofia Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda (1814-73) left 
her Cuban home in Camagiiey at the age of twenty-two 
in order to accompany to Spain her mother who had 
married a colonel in the Spanish army. In 1839 she pub- 
lished in Cadiz her first volume of verses. Arriving in 
Madrid in 1840 where her poems had already made her 
known she soon became an important figure in literary 
circles. Though she continued to write verses which dis- 
played a union of the classic tradition with the best features 
of the Byronic romanticism, she made her mark on the 
Spanish theater with a succession of dramas of great merit. 
More numerous were her prose tales, some of which were 
long enough to be classed as novels. The first of these in 
point of time, Sab, having for its chief character a mulatto 
slave contained a protest against slavery. Of her poems 
a few had Cuban inspiration, La Estrella de Occidente, z 


sonnet expressing her farewell to Cuba, A la muerte de 
Heredia, an elegy, and other Hnes which showed that her 
heart always beat with love for the country of her birth. 

In as great degree as she met success in literary endeavor 
was she unfortunate in love. The first man with whom, to 
judge from her published correspondence she fell in love, 
but did not marry, proved cold and indiflPerent, perhaps 
overwhelmed by her superior intelligence. Her first hus- 
band lived less than a year after their marriage. Her 
second husband was attacked by a political enemy and 
stabbed. And it was for the purpose of seeking an improve- 
ment in his health that they came to Havana in i860. 
But as he died after a few months, she returned to Spain. 
For her troubles she sought consolation in religion. Con- 
sequently the tone of her poems is eminently religious in 
spite of the passionate robustness of her lines on historical 
topics. Her dramatic masterpiece, Baltasar, embodying 
the well-known biblical incident of the writing on the wall 
at Belshazzar's feast, and her less effective tragedy Sauly 
show the same tendencies. 

Poetical activity during the early sixties was fostered 
by Nicolas Azcarate (1828-94). Like Del Monte he 
aspired to be the patron of Cuban literature by inviting 
poets to read their compositions at evening parties in his 
home. And he published some of their effusions in an 
elegant volume, Noches literarias en casa de Nicolas Az- 
carate. Moreover, he assisted needy poets financially. 
To Mendive he gave the principalship of a secondary 
school which Azcarate founded at his own expense. In 
Saturnino Martinez, a youthful poet, Azcarate thought 
he had discovered a genius; but in spite of the magnate's 

CUBA 407 

assistance Martinez never became more than a weak 
disciple of Fornaris.* At a later date when Azcarate*s 
own fortune had considerably dwindled he still had suffi- 
cient influence to launch a subscription amounting finally 
to ^22,000 for the widow and children of Dr. Zambrana. 

Azcarate's fortune was derived from a very successful 
practice as an influential lawyer famed for his oratorical 
ability. In politics he was a reformer rather than a 
separatist. In 1865 discontent in Cuba becoming very 
great, the Spanish minister for the colonies, Antonio 
Canovas del Castillo, agreed to listen to a request for re- 
forms. On this mission Azcarate went to Spain as a mem- 
ber of the "Junta de Informacion" of which the veteran 
J. A. Saco was also a member. Little came of these efforts 
though Azcarate even founded at his own expense a news- 
paper. La Voz del Sigh, to awaken public opinion in favor 
of reforms in the conduct of Cuban affairs. In Cuba dis- 
content continued to rise like the tide till it broke against 
the bar of official indifference and became open rebellion. 
Azcarate, however, maintained his attitude as a reformer 
so that on his return to Havana he was unable to regain 
either his popularity or his legal practice. His fortune of 
over a hundred thousand dollars having been spent it was 
necessary for him in his last years to earn his living as a 
government clerk. 

One of the forces which prepared the revolutionary out-, 
break in Cuba was undoubtedly the type of education 
which the future leaders were receiving in their youth at 
the Colegio de El Salvador. This school was opened and 
maintained by a farsighted sagacious man to whom 
education was a passion, Jose de la Luz y Caballero (1800-r 


62). Opened in 1848 for boys over twelve years of age, 
the school became immensely popular among the Cubans 
but not with the Spanish authorities who asserted that 
the director "was preparing the boys for conspiracy and 
the scaffold/* Later they termed Luz "the patriarch 
of the Cuban revolution." But his pupils insisted that 
"Don Pepe," as they affectionately called their principal, 
never discoursed on politics. His influence had its strength 
in weekly lessons on morals which he gave the boys. He 
preached to them the virtue of manly energy, of firm 
resistance to every form of oppression and injustice, of 
self-sacrifice on the altar of duty. The Spaniards were 
probably right in seeing in this teaching a symbolism not 
unlike that which characterized the poems of Luaces 
when he sang the patriotism of Greeks and Poles. At any 
rate the leaders in the demand for independence testify 
to the value of the training they received. And regarding 
Luz y Caballero the Cubans declare that, "with Felix 
Varela he created in philosophy a local tradition which 
is one of the constituent elements of Cuban psy- 

Jose de la Luz did not live to see the outbreak of the 
great struggle which lasted for ten years. The signal 
for the revolt, since known as "el grito de Yara," was given 
at Yara in the eastern end of the island by a wealthy 
planter, Carlos Manuel de Cespedes (1819-74), on Octo- 
ber loth, 1868. His demands were for a recognition by 
Spain of equal rights for Creoles and peninsulars, the 
abolition of slavery with compensation for owners and 
the grant of universal suffrage. Long before the end of the 
war Cespedes was killed. In 1878 hostilities were ter- 



minated by a grant of general amnesty and a promise of a 
large measure of reforms in an agreement called the "pacto 
de Zanjon." 

The poet of this revolution, one QJJthe foremost Cuban 
lyrists, was Juan Clemente Zenea (1832-71). Not only 
did he supply the symbolic poem suggesting the condition 
of Cuba but for his active participation in affairs he was 
unjustly executed. The pathetic verses written during 
his imprisonment and published after his death became a 
monument to his memory. 

Zenea was bom in Bayamo, the son of a native Cuban 
officer in the Spanish army, and Celestina Fornaris, older 
sister of the poet who sang the aboriginal Siboneyes. 
He was educated in that hotbed of conspiracy, the school 
directed by Jose de la Luz. At seventeen he began to 
write for the newspapers of Havana under the pen name 
of "Adolfo de la Azucena." At twenty he emigrated in 
haste because he was implicated in the publication of a 
revolutionary journal which the authorities saw fit to 
suppress. After arriving in New York he continued to 
write seditious articles. The impetuous youth sent one of 
these with his personal compliments to the Captain Gen- 
eral of Cuba, "thus insulting in the person of this au- 
thority the whole Spanish nation," according to the words 
of the decree of the council of war in Havana which on 
December 6th, 1853, condemned Zenea to death. Such 
a decree had probably for its real purpose the discourage- 
ment of the Cuban revolutionary junta then active in the 
United States. Two years later under the terms of the 
amnesty proclaimed by the new governor of Cuba, Zenea 
returned to Havana. Here he began to support himself 


by private teaching of French and EngHsh and by occa- 
sional journalistic work in prose and verse. 

In i860 he put forth a modest collection of his poems 
in a volume with the title, Cantos de la Tarde. The open- 
ing poem, Fidelia, immediately sprang into such popu- 
larity that the name became almost a sobriquet of the 
author. Curiosity as to whether the incidents constituted 
a real love story or an allegory lent it additional interest. 
A legend sprang up in Havana that "Fidelia" was a 
personification of Cuba. But there exists in Zenea*s 
prose writings a passage that seems to contradict such an 
idea, at least in so far as it was his conscious purpose to 
write an allegory. The poem served, however, as a sym- 
bolic and pathetic picture of Cuba to those patriots who 
chose to regard it in that light. 

Very tenderly, in a manner reminiscent of De Musset, 
the poem opens with a relation of the vow which the poet 
and Fidelia made to love each other forever. Circum- 
stances separated them and he departed to foreign lands. 
Returning after ten years he found Fidelia a corpse. From 
the first hint of disaster which the refrain, 

Yo estoy triste y tu estas muerta! 

introduces into the first love scene, the pathetic note 
swells to a finale of despairing melancholy. 

The other poems in the Cantos de la Tarde are written 
with the same elegiac tone though not with the same per- 
fection of form. As Rafael Merchan says, "they are the 
echo as much of his own heart as of the distress of the 

In 1865 Zenea again went to New York to engage in 

CUBA 411 

a business enterprise. That failing, he departed foi 
Mexico where he wrote for the daily papers. Hearing 
in 1868 of the outbreak of the insurrection under Cespedes 
the ardent patriot hastened to New York to join the liter- 
ary forces of the newly proclaimed Republic of Cuba and 
became an editor of La Revolucion. In 1870 the Spanish 
minister was induced to make secret overtures to President 
Cespedes who was then successfully maintaining his 
forces against the attacks of the Spanish soldiers. Zenea 
against the advice of his friends volunteered to be the 
bearer of the message because he placed confidence in a 
safe-conduct given him by the Spanish minister in Wash- 
ington. He landed safely, visited Cespedes, and had re- 
turned to the coast when he was surprised by a Spanish 
patrol. Had it not been for the safe-conduct, the mes- 
sages and a sum of money in gold in his possession, he 
would have been immediately executed. However, he 
was sent to Havana where he was placed in the fortress 
la Cabana. When news of his confinement reached Madrid 
an order to release him was telegraphed to the Captain 
General, Conde de Valmaseda. That official, alleging 
incriminating circumstances, paid no heed to the order. 
Moreover, he protracted the investigations for eight 
months until a crisis in the Spanish ministry occurred. 
Then a hastily conducted court-martial condemned Zenea 
to death. He was executed August 25, 1871. This bar- 
barous deed of Valmaseda's cost Spain twenty-five thou- 
sand dollars in indemnity to Zenea's widow. 

In the edition of Zenea's poems which his boyhood 
friend, Enrique Pineyro, brought out in New York, the 
editor grouped four compositions under the heading En 


Dias de Esclavitud. He considered them to offer an adt 
quate idea of the man, the poet, and the patriot. The 
first part reveals Zenea's feehngs upon leaving Havana, 
in 1865, where conditions made life unbearable. The 
second part, composed of earlier poems with the title 
Nocturno resembles in its pessimistic note his model De 
Musset. Then comes the beautiful hymn to the ocean 
which vies with, if it does not surpass, Heredia's. Zenea 
emphasizes the long period of time in which no ship sailed 
over the surface of the ocean and then demands why it 
did not pour forth its anger and drag into its depths the 
first Spanish caravels. The final section, written during 
the voyage to New York, terminates with a vision of a 
free Cuba when "a victorious people salutes the flag with 
the single star." 

After Zenea's execution there were published in Madrid 
the poems which he wrote in prison. Composed to while 
away the tedium of existence they form a remarkable 
human document, a record of trifling events as they 
affected a sensitive mind. The title of the first poem. 
El 75 de enero en mi prision, refers to the anniversary of 
his marriage, formerly such a happy day but now, just 
as the storm overtakes the mariner sailing smoothly along, 
so disaster has come upon him and his family. The place 
of his confinement was open on one side to the sky so that 
one day he was able to see a swallow as it flitted back and 
forth. To the swallow then he committed a message to 
his wife and daughter with the wish that he too might fly 

His thoughts recurred so often to his daughter Piedad, 
that not only did he inscribe her name in several places 

CUBA 413 

on the walls of his cell but he mentioned her in a majority 
of these dozen poems. One day he recollects the story 
books which she used to read. Another day he promises 
that, if anybody will have pity on his poor orphan child, 
he will come from his tomb and thank him. Again he 
explains to his wife why he did not say good-bye to the 
child when he left home; so he requests her to tell the 
little girl that he had gone away thus for the sake of not 
seeing her cry, but later he would embrace her in heaven. 

His wife Zenea addresses more directly in poems which 
concern the happiness of former days. One evening a ray 
of moonlight straggled into his cell. He remembers 
wandering with his adored and listening with her on 
many similar nights to the song of the nightingale without 
a presentiment of such dreadful change. Another evening 
echoes of a woman's voice singing in the apartments of 
the prison commander floated to his ears. He knows that 
song. "Do you remember," he asks his wife, "how once 
at the piano you told me in the same words the mysteries 
of the soul?" Finally he bids his wife meet him in heaven. 
"Do not forget me!" he cries; and he warns her that if 
she fails to pray God for his soul, his ghost will return to 
beseech her not to forget him but to remember him night 
and day. 

The ablest journalistic champion of the revolution of 
1868 was Rafael Merchan (1844-1905). From an article 
of his with the caption Laboremus was derived the name 
"laborante" commonly applied, at first by the Spaniards, 
to the Cuban revolutionaries. In Cuba a "comite labor- 
ante" directed the affairs of the revolution. In the United 
States a "sociedad de laborantes cubanos" was organized 


in many cities. Periodicals entitled El Lahorante came 
into existence in Cuba and Santo Domingo. And a defense 
of the insurrectionists in the form of a novel was published 
in 1872 with the title Escenas de la Revolucion de Cuba: 
Los Laborantes by "H. Goodman." Its author who thus 
concealed his name is unknown. 

Merchan, under sentence of death by the Spanish 
authorities, found refuge in New York where he edited the 
journal La Revolucion in 187 1. In the same year he put 
forth an important pamphlet on the situation, La Honra 
de Espana en Cuba. Three years later he was invited to go 
to Colombia, his father's birthplace, to act as secretary of 
a railroad company. In Bogota he continued to live for 
many years and became a prominent figure there in the 
world of letters. His critical articles on literature, his 
prose version of Longfellow's Evangeline^ and his poems 
of a metaphysical character made his name widely known. 
Nor did he forget his beloved Cuba, for he strove con- 
stantly with his pen to influence in her favor the public 
opinion of the rest of Spanish America. 

In 1890 when the Cuban question was again becoming 
acute even the leading Spanish review, Espana Moderna, 
opened its pages to Merchants articles. His point of view 
that "we make war because we desire to be independent, 
not because we hate Spaniards" seemed at least reasonable 
to open-minded men in Spain. When the revolution came 
in 1895, Merchan wrote several pamphlets in justification 
of the Cuban cause which were translated and published 
in London and New York for the purpose of influencing 
public opinion. 

When independence was won the Cuban Republic re- 



membered Merchants services by sending him as her 
ambassador to France and Spain in 1902. Unfortunately 
his health, undermined by hard work, was unequal to the 
strain and he had to come home to die after a short period. 
Cuba provided his widow with a pension. 

Another literary champion of the revolution was En- 
rique Pineyro (1839-1911). In his school days he was 
a favorite pupil of Luz y Caballero who had such faith 
in his ability that he left him money by will to enable 
him to pursue his studies in Europe. And it has been said 
that for his complete assimilation of the spirit of that 
educator Pineyro has a right to be considered as the 
typical pupil, the glory of his school. 

Pineyro*s reputation in the future will rest on his many 
excellent essays in literary history, but as a revolutionary 
his activity consisted in the practice of delivering lectures 
to groups of Cuban refugees. To the Revista cubana he 
contributed articles combining literary history with bi- 
ography from which the reader could derive by the in- 
spiration of example fresh determination and patriotic 

His most important work of this sort was a biographical 
account of Jose Morales Lemus (1808-70). This man 
established, 1863, in Havana a newspaper, El Siglo, which 
espoused the cause of reforms in Cuba. A reform party 
very soon sprung up to which the Spanish government 
paid enough heed to call a conference with representative 
Cubans, since known as the "junta de informacion.'* 
Morales Lemus, Azcarate and the venerable Saco were 
elected among others as members of the junta to speak for 
the island. As nothing came of these efforts Morales 


Lemus returned to Cuba greatly disappointed. Instead 
of reforms the Spanish government levied a new and heavy 
income tax which increased the discontent. The con- 
spiracies and uprisings in Spain itself possibly acted by 
suggestion in 1868 to start the flame in Cuba. Morales 
Lemus left the island to take up his residence in New York 
and Washington. When the Cuban insurrectionists estab- 
lished a provisional government, their president, Cespedes, 
appointed Morales Lemus envoy plenipotentiary to the 
new American administration of General Grant. American 
public opinion was so favorably inclined toward Cuban 
aspirations for independence that the House of Represent- 
atives passed a resolution recognizing the Cuban rebels 
as belligerents. In the summer of 1869 President Grant 
appointed Daniel E. Sickles a special commissioner to 
Spain to propose a plan, which Morales Lemus had had 
a part in formulating, to the effect that Spain should grant 
Cuba independence in return for a large indemnity to be 
paid by Cuba under the guarantee of the United States. 
The Spanish government, however, was able to protract 
the diplomatic maneuvers until the matter fell through. 
Moreover, Morales Lemus' special friend in Grant's cab- 
inet, General Rawlins, Secretary of War, died in Septem- 
ber. Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State, was afraid of 
possible hostilities with Spain and paid no further atten- 
tion to the Cuban envoy, and in June of the following 
year Morales Lemus died. 

The spiritual aid of such biographies as this appears to 
have been great. And the short biography was Piiieyro's 
specialty. In putting before the Cubans the lives of their 
heroic fellow countrymen and of other persons who fought 


CUBA 417 

Spain like San Martin and Bolivar, he performed an im-i 
portant service to the cause of Cuban independence. 
During his later years he lived mainly in Paris and wrote 
on topics connected with literary history, such as his 
excellent Romanticismo en Espana. Whatever Pineyro 
has written is worth reading, not only for the scholarly 
care for truth and fullness of detail which he displays, but 
also for the sobriety, terseness and interest of his style. 

The ten years' war having been brought to an end by the 
pact of Zanjon and a general amnesty declared by the 
Captain General Arsenio Martinez Campos, peace pre- 
vailed in Cuba. The literary production of the next few 
years may be followed in the Revista de Cuba, established 
by Jose Antonio Cortina in 1877 with the avowed inten- 
tion of "keeping free from party quarrels and aspiring to 
reflect in its pages the intellectual movement of this 
island." Though Cortina was a patriot who had suflFered 
imprisonment in 1869 for printing an address by Antonio 
Bachiller y Morales, he rightly concluded that the time 
was a period for recuperation. In his review consequently 
appeared nothing which reflected on Spanish rule. As 
Cortina was a man of literary good taste the influence 
which he exercised on the contributors who met at evening 
for the reading and discussion of prospective articles and 
poems was pronounced. 

The poetry at this time, as generally in the Spanish- 
speaking world, was influenced by the Germanistic spirit. 
In Cuba the brothers Antonio Sellen (1840-88) and Fran- 
cisco Sellen (183 8- 1907) wrote a multitude of verses both 
original and translations. Francisco Sellen had been sent 
by the Spanish authorities to Spain as a prisoner for taking 


part in the insurrection. He escaped from prison, however, 
and found refuge for a while in Germany. When he re- 
turned to America he brought with him translations of Ger- 
man poets which he published as Ecos del Rin. Later he 
made metrical translations of such diverse works as 
Goethe's Faust, Heine's Intermezzo lirico and Byron's 
GiaouTy of which the last two appeared in the Revista 
Cubana. His numerous original poems evinced a love of 
tropic nature with a strain of pessimism toward life which 
rang true in certain patriotic lines. His greatest effort 
was Hatuey, a. dramatic poem vying with Fomaris' Cantos 
de Siboney in depicting aboriginal life. For a time Fran- 
cisco Sellen's copiousness made him the leading Cuban 
poet, but his popularity soon suffered eclipse. 

The special form of poem known by the German name 
of "lied," which had been introduced into Spanish liter- 
ature through imitation of Heine and Gustavo Becquer, 
\ appealed to Cuban poets and was successfully practiced 
Iby a group of young men composed of Esteban Borrero 
Echeverria, Jose Varela, Aurelio Mityans, Diego Vicente 
Tejera, and Enrique J. Varona. They took full advantage 
of the fact that the anecdotal character of the lied lent 
itself to the presentation of stirring tales from revolution- 
ary history. 

Aurelio Mityans (1863-89) as a measure of precaution 
concealed his identity by signing his pictures of pitiable 
sufferings from Spanish outrages "El Camagueyano." 
As a student of Cuban literature he had in preparation 
at the time of his premature death a book which his 
friends published in spite of its fragmentary condition as 
Estudio sabre el movimiento cientifico y liter ario de Cuba, 1 890. 

CUBA 419 

Diego Vicente Tejera (i 848-1903) excelled in rendering 
the tropical Cuban landscape flooded with sunlight, 
suggestive of the noonday siesta in the shade of a rustic 
hut. His best descriptive pieces, En la Hamaca and El 
Despertar de Cuba, were written as memt)ries of home during 
his campaigning in Venezuela with the /)arty in rebellion 
against Guzman Blanco. His love lyrics in imitation of 
Heine to the collection of which he gave the name Un 
Ramo de Violetas, were printed in 1878. His original 
"lieder," narratives in rhyme, were intended to inspire 
sympathy for those Cubans who fought against Spanish 
authority. He translated the verses of a Hungarian poet 
with the title of Cuentos Madgiares because the conditions 
of the Hungarian rebels described in them applied to Cuba. 
In other poems, La Muerte de Pldcido, Al Ideal de la 
Independencia de Cuba, La Estrella solitaria, the patriotic 
appeal was more direct, and reached a climax in Esperando, 
1890. In this poem beginning "Yacen alli . . ." the dead 
who have already given their lives for Cuban independence 
are represented as lying impatient in their graves, im- 
patient to hear the echoes of a new struggle and the trium- 
phant cheers of a people who have won their freedom. 

At the time of the revolution of 1895 Tejera was active 
among the Cuban refugees in the United States trying to 
organize a socialist party. The failure of this eff^ort cut 
him oflF from the group of men who led the revolution and 
the reward which its success brought to men like his former 
associate Enrique Jose Varona (b. 1849) vice-president of 
the Cuban Republic, 191 2-16. 

Enrique-Jose Varona's most important poems were 
printed 1879 in a volume whose title, Paisajes cubanos, is 


descriptive of the nature of the contents. The poems 
range in character from the poetic narration of episodes 
in the ten years' war to symbolistic lines on Cuba. Dos 
Voces en la Sombra, for example, is a dialogue between the 
poet and the soul of Cuba. Bajo la Capa del Cielo and 
£1 Tango are filled with patriotic and nationalistic inspira- 
tion. After 1880 verse writing occupied but little of his 
attention. On the other hand, the name of Enrique Jose 
Varona has been associated during his time with almost 
every intellectual movement in Cuba. 

First of all as a teacher of philosophy, interpreting the 
system of Herbert Spencer to the Cuban people, he con- 
tinued the intellectual tradition of Varela and Luz. Like 
them he made use of his philosophical teaching to in- 
culcate in his pupils a desire for freedom. When after the 
death of J. A. Cortina he became the editor of the review 
to which he had so often contributed he found ample 
opportunity for his peculiar form of separatist propaganda. 

Varona signalized his assumption of the editorship of 
the review, 1885, by changing its name to Revista Cuhana. 
The first number announced that it would "be merely the 
continuation of the Revista de Cuba. To present a picture 
as faithful as possible of the state of our culture, offering 
a neutral field to all opinions in order to keep alive Cuban 
sentiment against the discouragements of the present 
moment, is the first of its objects." The emphasis was 
laid more and more on the part of this program referring 
to the keeping alive of Cuban sentiment. 

Varona's method of fostering nationalistic sentiment is 
well illustrated by an oration which he delivered and re- 
printed in the review, on such an unsuggestive topic as 

CUBA 421 

El Poeta anonimo de la Polonia. To his audience the 
description of Poland was a picture of suffering Cuba. 
With similar purpose he printed a remarkable article, 
El Bandolerismo en Cuba, attempting to prove that crime 
scarcely existed among the native population of Cuba but 
was confined to persons of Spanish birth. In 1891 he 
published a volume entitled Articulos y Discursos which 
for the character of its contents was almost the program 
of a revolutionary party. Each article treated some idea 
connected with the political or economic situation in Cuba. 
Four years later broke out the final and successful Cuban 
revolution which solved these problems in the manner 
hinted by Varona, namely, by independence. 

Before the actual outbreak the Revista Cuhana was 
obliged to suspend publication. Its utterances became 
bolder and bolder so that finally one number was seized 
and suppressed by the authorities. Varona found it 
advisable to seek refuge in New York. There he became 
an invaluable member of the literary cohorts fighting for 
Cuban independence by his editing of the journal La 
Patria, by his addresses to Cuban refugees, and by rev- 
olutionary tracts. One of the latter translated into 
English, Cuba against Spain, was widely circulated. It was 
a terrible arraignment supported by facts and figures of 
the frauds and thefts committed by the Spanish bureau- 
cracy in the administration of insular affairs. In addition 
he showed that the system of voting introduced as a sup- 
posed reform after the pact of Zanjon was such a farce 
that only Spaniards or known Spanish sympathizers were 
allowed to vote. 

After the Spaniards withdrew from Cuba, Varona was 


appointed Secretary of Public Instruction during the first 
North American intervention. Then followed a period 
in which he took no part in politics. This was marked 
by the publication of books on philosophy made up of 
lectures previously delivered and of a collection of essays 
on literature, Desde mi Belvedere. At the time of the 
second North American intervention he became a leader 
of the conservative party and in 191 2 was elected Vice- 
president of the Republic of Cuba, a fitting honor for one 
who had devoted so much of his youthful energies to its 

During Varona*s editorship of the Revista Cuhana^ 
many writers assisted him in carrying out his policies. 
One of the oldest men enlisted was Antonio Bachiller y 
Morales (1812-89). He was one of those natural scholars 
whose learning increases with their years, and who retain 
their mental vigor to the end. Due to the universality 
of his studies his published essays embrace almost every 
field. He even began his career with a few verses like the 
other students who came under Del Monte's influence. 
As a professor in the university, however, his intellectual 
interests led him away from poetry. His most important 
work will always be considered the Apuntes para la His- 
toria de las Letras en Cuba, which is quite as much a his- 
tory of education in Cuba as of the production of litera^ 
ture. During the ten years' war he was obliged for his 
journalistic activity to emigrate to New York. His most 
valuable work there was an edition of Heredia's poems. 

It was by articles on Heredia, on Placido, on Cuban 
literature in general, with special emphasis on features 
antagonistic to Spanish rule, that the Revista Cubana 

CUBA 423 

maintained its policy of cherishing a nationalistic Cuban 
sentiment. As time went on its articles became more 
directly political in character, such as a discussion of the 
aspirations of the Cuban liberal party by F. A. Conte, a 
history of the filibustering expedition of Narciso Lopez 
with all its revolutionary implications by the Conde de 
Pozos Dulces, the chapters from Saco's Historia de la 
Esclavitud which dealt with the iniquities of the slave 
trade in Cuba. Enrique Pineyro contributed a sketch of 
the history of the United States during the struggles over 
the slavery question and the campaign resulting in the 
election of Abraham Lincoln. The review of books such 
as the biographies of Felix Varela and of Jose de la Luz 
by Jose Ignacio Rodriguez offered another opportunity 
for the preaching of the Cuban ideal. 

Books began to reinforce the revolutionary propaganda. 
Almost epoch-making was A pie y descalzo, 1890, by 
Ramon Roa, the record of a journey which the author 
had made through the regions devastated by the military 
operations of the Spaniards during the early years of the 
ten years' war. As the author had been a lieutenant 
colonel and adjutant secretary to Generals Ignacio Agra- 
monte and Maximo Gomez he could unfold tales of desti- 
tution and distress well calculated to harrow up the soul 
of his readers. With the same object was written Epi- 
sodios de la RevoluciSn cubana, by Manuel de la Cruz 
(1861-96), and his Cromitos Cubanos, short sketches of 
prominent fellow countrymen. He contributed articles 
also to the Revista Cubana. Likewise Ram6n Meza wrote 
articles on literature and published books. These were 
novels picturing social conditions, Mi Tio el Empleado 


and D. Aniceto el Tendero. To Meza we are indebted for 
a sympathetic account of Julian del Casal. 

Of all the contributors to the Revista Cuhana the edi- 
tor's right hand man was Manuel Sanguily, most vigorous 
and active. Finally, to throw off all restraint he estab- 
lished just before the outbreak of the revolution of 1895, 
a journal with the innocuous title, Hojas Literarias, which 
during its year of existence had some of its numbers sup- 
pressed, surely not merely for discourses on literature. 
One of his first contributions to the Revista Cuhana was 
Los Oradores de Cuba. The discussion of each man's 
oratorical ability was a peg on which to hang the account 
of his services for Cuba. If he wrote of Heredia's poetry, 
he exalted the revolutionary ideal. From Sanguily*s 
first appearance there was scarcely a number of the re- 
view without something from his pen. 

But all these brave words would have been fruitless 
without somebody to incite men to action. This man was 
Jose Marti to whose efforts more than to any other single 
individual Cuban independence was due. To this object 
from the age of sixteen he devoted with a fervor rarely 
equaled in any cause, both his life and a gift of speech 
seldom given to mortals. Whatever other title may be 
conferred on him there is one uniquely his, the "Apostle" 
of Cuban independence. 

f Jose Marti (1853-95), was the son of an officer of ar- 
tillery in the Spanish army. He attended the school of 
which the poet Mendive was the principal. From him 
lit is likely that Marti absorbed some of his revolutionary 
ideas, just as the spectacle of his beloved teacher in prison 
embittered his spirit. Marti and another pupil used 

CUBA 425 

daily to escort Mendive's wife to the prison on her visits 
to her husband before his deportation. Marti himself 
was arrested as a conspirator at the age of sixteen and 
deported to Spain, but he was permitted to study law / 
during his five years' sojourn. In 1873 he went to Mexico 
where he married. In 1878, he returned to Cuba osten- 
sibly to practice law but in reality to engage in conspiracy 
which developed into the brief period of hostilities known 
as the "guerra chiquita." Marti was arrested and again 
deported to Spain. He escaped, however, to France, 
from where by way of New York he went to Venezuela, 
but by 1 88 1 he was back in New York. For the next 
eight years he earned his living by work at various Spanish- 
American consulates, by articles for La Nacion of Buenos 
Aires and criticisms on art for the New York Sun. He 
even published two little volumes of poems, one, Ismaelilloy 
the out-pourings of a father's heart in joy over his son, 
the other. Versos Sencillos, a collection of love lyrics. In 
1889 at a banquet of Spanish Americans he made a speech 
which he terminated with this peroration: "Those who # 
have a country, let them honor it; those who have not, / 
let them conquer one." 

The press report of this speech was such that the 
Spanish government protested to the Argentine Republic 
against Marti's employment at her consulship. From 
that hour Marti was free to devote his whole time to the 
propaganda against Spain. He became the "Apostle" 
preaching Cuban independence to Cubans, wherever he 
could find an audience. He went to Florida to work 
among the colonies of refugees in the cigar factories of 
Key West and Tampa. Everywhere among the working- 


men he received an enthusiastic welcome, and at his sug- 
gestion the organization of revolutionary clubs went on 
apace. In 1892 Marti definitely launched the "Partido 
Revolucionario Cubano" with a program expressed in 
writing so that its purposes could be positively known and 
open to discussion. Among the more well-to-do Cubans 
Marti had to overcome much opposition, which was 
summed up in the sarcasm, "Mas machetes! Pobre 

But the enrollment of volunteers and the collections 
of money and arms continued to increase. It was neces- 
sary to find military leaders. He sought out the veteran 
generals Cebreco, Maceo, and Maximo Gomez and se- 
cured the promise of their support. Marti's description 
of his visit to the latter's home in Santo Domingo where 
he was comfortably living with his family on an estate 
in the country is one of the finest things from his pen. 
Finally on February 24, 1895, the cry of revolution was 
raised in the province of Santiago. In April, Marti and 
Maximo Gomez landed in Cuba. A month later Marti, 
who was now considered the president of the new Cuban 
republic, set out to leave the island. With a small escort 
he was surprised by a detachment of Spanish soldiers, 
and fell mortally wounded at the first discharge. This 
occurred at a locality known as Boca de Dos Rios, on 
May 19th, 1895. The work for which Marti had given 
his life resulted in the emancipation of Cuba from Spanish 

Martfs literary work has been published in several 
volumes by his friend, Gonzalo de Quesada. It consists 
mjainly of speeches and articles written for various papers. 

CUBA 427 

Its value lies in the remarkable qualities of his style. He 
possessed the secret of contrast with the expert journal- 
ist*s ability to select details with dramatic value and the 
artist's eye for color and harmony. If one wishes to 
know, for example, what the streets and parades in New 
York were like at the time of the formal acceptance of 
Bartholdi's statue of liberty, he should read Marti's ac- 
count sent to La Nacion of Buenos Aires. It would lose 
little in translation, for its vivid picturesqueness is based 
on fact. On the other hand, the fluent rhythm of his 
speeches can hardly be rendered in translation. At times 
he speaks in metaphors which are difficult to follow on 
account of their depth of thought. Rarely, however, 
does he fall into the merely flowery eloquence which is 
so characteristic of many Spanish Americans. His 
tremendous earnestness and dignity are always apparent. 
In these respects the introductory paragraph of his pref- 
ace to Perez Bonalde's poem on Niagara ^ is a charac- 
teristic gem from Marti's tongue. 

The man's wonderful talent has nowhere been more 
vividly described than in this statement by Diego V. 
Tejera: "He who has never heard Marti in a moment of 
confidential intimacy does not realize the full power of 
the fascination of which human speech is capable." 

Of the two movements which have aflPected the liter- 
atures of all countries at the end of the nineteenth century, 
the modernista development in poetry and the vogue of 
the naturalistic novel Cuba took but small share on ac- 
count of the absorption of her sons in political interests. 
However, it must not be forgotten that in Julian die] Casal 
^ See page 320. 


(1863-93) she had the honor of giving to the world one of 
the most important precursors of modemista verse. 
His adaptation of certain exotic forms to the genius of the 
Spanish language are clearly evident to the students of 
the movement. Had Casal lived longer he might have 
shared with Ruben Dario the latter's fame, for the admira- 
tion of the two poets for each other's work and their 
reciprocal influence is evident. 

In the naturalistic novel Jesus Castellanos (i 879-191 2) 
was just beginning to show the possibilities of Cuban life 
when his career was cut short by death. In La Tierra 
adentro he depicted in a series of short stories and sketches 
Cuban rural life. But he reached artistic perfection in a 
tale published separately from that collection, La Manigua 
Sentimental. The title was taken from the Cuban name 
given to the rough woodland country in eastern and 
central Cuba where the last revolution was mainly fought. 
Critics agree that his observations of life in that region at 
that epoch are most exact. At the time of his death 
Castellanos was rapidly becoming the literary leader of 
Cuba. His critical articles on literature were eagerly 
read. In 191 2 with the Dominican Max Henriquez Ureiia 
he organized La Sociedad de Conferencias which since then 
has continued to work for the furtherance of Cuban lit- 
erature by means of public lectures. 

Since the winning of political independence Cuba's 
material prosperity has grown by leaps and bounds. There 
can be no doubt that in the future Cuba will maintain her 
literary fame. At present the periodicals published in the 
island equal if they do not surpass in literary qualities 
those of any other nation. Take, for example, the beau- 

CUBA 429 

tifully illustrated Figaro, long conducted by the poet 
Manuel S. Pichardo; Cuba y America, whose purpose is 
"the regeneration of Cuban culture," and whose editor, 
Salvador Salazar, is an enthusiastic student of literature; 
or the scholarly monthly Cuba Contempordnea, directed 
by Carlos deVelasco, which is doing an unsurpassed service 
for the study of Cuban literature. The famous organ of 
the ancient society, Los Amigos del Pais, entitled La 
Revista bimestre cubana, has also been revived. 

The centenaries of certain beloved poets, La Avellaneda 
and Milanes, have recently given opportunity to foster the 
love of literature. The prize for the poem in celebration 
of La Avellaneda's birth was awarded in 1914 to Dofia 
Dulce Maria Borrero de Lujan who for some years has 
been Cuba's reigning poetess. 

Her name appeared in an anthology, Arpas cubanas, 
published in 1904, which in a certain degree fixes a' date 
for the regeneration of Cuban verse after the war for 
independence. The poems it contained were those of 
living poets whose names were too numerous to mention 
here. The collection contained also two sonnets by a poet, 
Enrique Hernandez Miyares (i 859-1914), whose life 
covered the period of transition from colonial to free Cuba. 
His first work appeared in the Revista cubana and he was 
an intimate friend of Julian del Casal. 

The two sonnets A un Machete and La mas Fermosa 
typify the old and the new Cuba. The first, written in 
1892 when the revolutionary agitation was becoming 
acute, presents the poet coming by chance upon a rusty 
machete, which though it had spilled Spanish blood in an 
attempt at redemption, was now lying forgetful of pa- 


triotism, idle and a coward. The other sonnet, La mas 
Fermosa, published in 1903, has been called the most 
beautiful sonnet written in Cuba. Certainly it voices the 
spirit of determination so characteristic of Cuban patriots 
as well as the idealization of the Cuban attitude toward 
the future. j 

Keep on, O knight! With lance uplifted ride, 
To punish every wrong by righteous deed; 
For constancy at last shall gain its meed, 
And justice ever with the law abide. 
Mambrino's broken helmet don with pride, 
Advance undaunted on thy glorious steed. 
To Sancho Panza's cautions pay no heed, 
In destiny and thy right arm confide. 
At Fortune's coy reserve display no fear; 
For should the Cavalier of the White Moon 
With arms *gainst thine in combat dare appear. 
Although by adverse fate thou art overthrown. 
Of Dulcinea even in death's hour swear 
That she will always be the only fair.^ 

^ Version of Alfred Coester. 



Santo Domingo is the Spanish-speaking repubHc sit- 
uated in the southern half of the island of which the negro 
republic of Haiti, where French is spoken, is the northern 
half. Mountain ranges in the interior form a natural 
barrier between the two. The whole island was named by 
Columbus Isla Hispaniola or Spanish Island. The ab- 
original name Quisqueya supplies a poetical appellation 
to a region whose unhappy history is rich in material for 

Columbus considered this island the chief discovery of 
his first voyage, for there he found gold in abundance. As 
the natives were of a friendly disposition he selected it as 
the site of the first Spanish settlement in the New World. 
But the record of the colony forms a sad page in history. 
And to the present day fate has evilly treated the dwellers 
in this island so blessed by nature. 

In 1795 ^^^ possession of the whole island passed to the 
French. In consequence an emigration of the Spanish 
families set in which materially increased when the blacks 
in Haiti after 1801 were ravaging the land with arson and 
murder. By 1821 the Haytians were in complete control. 

Then began a hard struggle by the Spanish whites to 
avoid annihilation. They found a leader in Juan Pablo 
Duarte (1813-73). Educated in Spain he trained the 



people to resist negro domination and to cling to their 
Spanish tongue. For this purpose he imported and dis- 
tributed Spanish books. No less important was their 
training in arms, for by 1844 the Spanish element suc- 
ceeded in freeing themselves and in setting up the Domin- 
ican Republic. 

The University of Santo Domingo, founded in 1558, had 
during the colonial period been instrumental in maintain- 
ing in the colony a higher degree of culture than that which 
existed in the other Antilles. Students from them re- 
sorted to Santo Domingo. Consequently when the 
emigration occurred it carried to Puerto Rico, Cuba and 
Venezuela elements which assisted in raising the intellec- 
tual tone in those countries. The great Cuban poet, 
Heredia, and the patron of Cuban letters, Domingo del 
Monte, were children of families from the unhappy isle. 
The same is true of Narciso Foxa and his brother Francisco 
J. Foxa, one of the first dramatic poets of Cuba. Francisco 
Muiioz del Monte (1800-68), cousin of Domingo del 
Monte, contributed verses to the literary movement of the 
thirties in Cuba which are worthy of being remembered, 
especially his elegy A la Muerte de Heredia and his interest- 
ing evocation of the hot season. El Verano en la Habana. 

The intellectual leader of the republic established in 
1844 was Felix Maria del Monte (1819-99). His national 
hymn remains as an echo of the bitter struggle against the 
Haytians. Other poems of his likewise were inspired by 
personal experience or by the course of events as his Arpa 
del ProscritOy dedicated to Nicolas Ureiia de Mendoza 
(1822-75). The latter in the manner of the Cuban Velez 
y Herrera composed verses in description of the life of the 


guajiros of his native island. Of the same age Felix Mota 
(1822-61), shot by the Spaniards among other patriots 
who opposed their reoccupation of Santo Domingo, wrote 
poems suggestive of Milanes. 

The period of peace after 1844 was too troubled for 
extensive literary production. In 1861 Dominican leaders 
then in power thought to find protection from the Hay- 
tians by asking Spain for re-annexation as a colony. Spain 
sent a few regiments of soldiers to maintain her authority, 
but in 1866 she practically abandoned the island by with- 
drawing the soldiers. The Dominican Republic was re- 
established, but not until 1873 did political conditions 
allow settled order and progress. 

Among those who returned to the island after the de- 
parture of the Spaniards was Javier Angulo Guridi (18 16- X 
84), a former colonel in the patriot army. During his exile 
he had engaged in journalism in various countries, notably 
in Venezuela, where he appears to have been strongly in- 
fluenced by the group of poets finding inspiration in 
Indian life. Though he had the distinction of being the 
first Dominican poet to see his verses collected in a volume. 
Ens ay OS poeticos, in 1843, his best poems and prose tales 
treat Indian legends, as his Iguaniona which he also 
arranged as a drama, in 1867. 

Tales of Indian life and the relations of the natives with 
the first settlers became the popular subjects of literary 
art during the decade of the seventies. But interest in 
literature was made possible by a remarkable movement 
for education and culture in which the poetess Doiia 
SalomeUrefia (1850-97), daughter of Nicolas Ureria de x^ 
Mendoza was a prominent figure. She began publishing 


poems in praise of the ideals of peace and progress. A 
society, Los Amigos del Pais, was founded to promote the 
interests of the country along such lines, and in 1878 the 
society presented to the poetess a gold medal and pub- 
lished an edition of her poems. In 1880 she married 
Francisco Henriquez y Carvajal (b. 1859). The same 
year there came to Santo Domingo one of the remark- 
able thinkers of Spanish America, Eugenio M, Hostcs, 
who as principal of the Escuela Normal introduced into 
the island a knowledge of modern pedagogical methods. 
Writing his own texts for his classes, he performed for 
Santo Domingo much the same service as Andres Bello 
for Chile. Dona Salome Urefia de Henriquez aided the 
movement by founding the first school for young ladies, 
which she directed for many years. From this time her 
poems were echoes of her home life in which vibrated the 
strong feelings of wife and mother. 

In the volume of her poems printed in 1878, the legend 
Anacaona, on an Indian topic, showed her interest in the 
popular trend in literature. Her one rival in the field of 
poetry, Jose Joaquin Perez (i 845-1900), vies with the 
Uruguayan Zorrilla de San Martin for the primacy of 
excellence in Spanish-American literary evocation of na- 
tive life. His first poem of this type, Quisqueyana, bears 
the date of his return to Santo Domingo, 1874, after 
years of exile in Venezuela. Of the same year was the 
beautiful Vuelta al Hogary an intense cry of joy at being 
again in his native land. In 1877 he published the volume 
entitled Fantasias Indigenas to which Perez mainly owes 
his fame. These were short narrative poems, perpetuat-» 
ing the memory of the aborigines of Santo Domingo, the 


best of which were El Voto de Anacaona and Guarionex. 
El Junco verde relates the impression which was produced 
on Columbus and his crew by the sight of a green reed, the 
first sign of land. At the same time Perez was deeply 
interested in the movement for better educational facili- 
ties in the island and voiced it in his poem Himno al 
Progreso del Pais written in the style of Doiia Salome. 
Later when the modemista manner was attracting the 
young men of Spanish America, Perez showed his versa- 
tility by adopting it in Americanas^ a series of poems called 
forth by his sympathy for the Cubans during the rebellion 

of 1895- 

In prose the interest in Dominican life and history 
produced Bani Engracia y Antoiiita, a story full of in- 
tense local color by Francisco Gregorio Billini (1844-98), 
and the historical tales of Cesar Nicolas Penson (1855- 
1902), entitled Cos as arte j as. Of similar inspiration was 
the long historical novel Enriquillo by Manuel de Jesus 
Galyan (1834-1911), published in 1882, but written a few 
years before. In both the style and the interest of the 
subject-matter Enriquillo is one of the very best historical 
novels that have been written by a Spanish American. 
It depicts the early colonial period in Hispaniola at the 
termination of the administration of the governor Ovando, 
and the beginning of that of Diego Colon, the Admiral's 
son. The arrival of Diego Colon with his bride, Maria de 
Toledo, in 1509 forms an interesting episode. The friar 
Bartolome de las Casas, the famous champion of human 
rights for the oppressed natives, also appears in its pages. 
Their grievances and last rebellion under the young cacique 
whose Christian name was Enriquillo compose much of 


the narrative and make it the foremost work of Spanish- 
American literary art in prose which deals with the life 
of the American savages. 

Of the generation of men who took active part in the 
upbuilding of culture in Santo Domingo should be men- 
tioned Federico Henriquez y ,,Car«ajaL(b. 1848), now 
chief justice of the supreme court. Though as a journalist 
in early life he wrote verses and even dramas, of which 
one, La Hija del Hebreo, was produced on the stage, he 
distinguished himself as a professor in the normal school 
established by Hostos and in other educational institu- 
tions. In Cuba, he is gratefully remembered for the 
assistance which he rendered the patriots of the revolu- 
tions of 1868 and 1895. After the close of the ten years' 
war, Maximo Gomez and other Cuban leaders found 
refuge in Santo Domingo. And during his propaganda 
in favor of a fresh attempt at independence, Jose Marti 
received hearty assistance there. Among Martfs writings 
there is no more glowing page than that which describes 
his visit to Maximo Gomez in Santo Domingo in 1893, 
and his welcome by various Dominicans. From there 
also with their assistance Marti and Gomez set out for 
Cuba to raise the cry at Baira that precipitated Cuba's 
final and successful revolution. Marti's letter to Federico 
Henriquez y Carvajal, dated Montecristy, March, 1895, 
on the eve of his departure, has been called his "political 

Of the fruits of the educational movement in Santo 
Domingo, the literary activity of her sons and daughters 
since the beginning of the new century give ample testi- 
mony. Of the older generation Emilio Prud'homme is 


distinguished for his national anthem adopted in 1897. 
In prose, Federico Garcia Godoy has long been a leading 
literary critic, while his historical novels Rufinito, Alma 
Dominicana, and the recent Guanuma, 191 5, give realistic 
pictures of the Dominican struggles for independence. 
The author's purpose in his writings has been to awaken 
a strong feeling of nationality. Guanuma, the name of 
the locality where the soldiers camped, is in the words of 
the author, "a synthetic name which sums up the second 
part of the campaign which put an end to the annexation 
by the withdrawal of the Spanish troops from Dominican 
) territory once more independent through the tenacity and 
heroism of her sons." 

Of a younger generation were the poets Gaston F. De- 
ligne (1861-1913), Rafael A. Deligne (1863-1902), and 
Arturo Pellerano Castro (b. 1865), whose elegant verses 
deserve to be more widely known. As a writer of prose 
Americo Lugo (b. 1871) has attracted attention by 
his articles on sociological and critical topics and fan- 
tastic tales, some of which have been collected in the 
volume entitled A Punto largo. 

To the modemista movement, Santo Domingo con- 
tributed Fabio Fiallo (b. 1865), who has made himself 
widely known in Spanish America for his tales in both 
prose and verse. Tulio M. Cestero (b. 1877) was at first 
one of the most extravagant modemistas, but his writings 
now found in La Revista de America and other reviews 
show a considerable modification of his early style. 
Manuel F. Cestero has also produced excellent work as a 
journalist and writer of tales. 

The educational work so diligently fostered by Dona 


Salome Urena de Henriquez has done marvels for culture 
in Santo Domingo. Through her sons, Pedro Henriquez 
Ureiia (b. 1884), and Max Henriquez Urena (b. 1885), 
she has enriched the intellectual life of Spanish America. 
The scene of Max Henriquez Urena's activity has been 
Cuba where in company with Jesus Castellanos he founded 
the Sociedad de Conferencias. His lectures before that 
society and his many articles on literary topics have 
greatly furthered the knowledge of literary history. His 
recent volume of poems, Anforas, testifies to his inherited 
ability in writing pleasing and musical verses. 

Pedro _Henriquez_JU[rena's sphere has been even wider. 
His tragic poem in classical style, El Nacimiento de 
Dionisos, evoked great praise from the Uruguayan critic 
Rodo. His studies in Greek literature led him to make 
a Spanish translation of some of Walter Pater's essays, 
published as Estudios griegos. As professor of literature 
in the University of Mexico, he wrote many useful and 
interesting articles. The most brilliant of these was a 
lecture in which he set forth his discovery that the great 
Spanish dramatist, Juan Ruiz de Alarcon, was brought up 
in Mexico where his works show he first learned the ele- 
ments of dramatic art. Other essays have appeared in 
the volume Horas de E studio. For the history of Domini- 
can literature he has done greater service than anyone 
both in his essays and the historical sketch preceding the 
Antologia dominicana and in his study Romances en 
Americay in which he collected the traditional Spanish 
romances still sung or recited by the people in Santo 



The small island of Puerto Rico owing to its freedom 
from political disturbances shows a different type of 
literary production from that of other more agitated com- 
munities. In colonial times it had the distinction of 
sharing with Mexico the fame of Bernardo de Balbuena. 
While bishop of Puerto Rico he composed his heroic 
poem Bernardo. When he died, he bequeathed to the 
church his books and papers, which unfortunately were 
destroyed in the raid by the Hollanders in 1625. 

In the nineteenth century the first literary fruitage was 
lie to the influence of the activity in the circle of Domingo 
del Monte. He personally encouraged several poets 
who came in contact with him in Cuba. In 1843 was 
printed in the form of a gift-book for ladies, the Aguinaldo 
Puerto-Riqueno, a collection of poems by natives of the 
island. A second and more famous collection of similar 
character was the Cancionero de Borinquen, 1846, which 
thus made use of the poetic aboriginal name of the island. 

In this book the best poem and one which has lived in 
popular memory is entitled Insomnio by Santiago Vidarte 
(1828-48). Beginning with a barcarole it sings the tropical 
beauty of Puerto Rico as seen at dawn from the sea. 

A contributor to both collections was Alejandrina 
Benitez (18 19- ? ). For years she was a frequent con- 
tributor to the periodicals of verses with a virile tone like 
her lines A Cuba and El Cable submarino. She made 
a romantic marriage with the poet Arce Gautier, and their 
son, Jose Gautier Benitez (1848-80), became one of the 
best poets who have written in Puerto Rico. 


The interest in country people and their customs popu- 
larized in Cuba by Del Monte, Velez Herrera and other 
poets had its echo in the prose sketches of Manuel A. 
xf Alonso (1823-?), which he published under the title of 
El Gibaro, the name given to the white country people 
of Puerto Rico. These valuable contributions to folk 
lore were written from his intimate knowledge of the 
peasants and their peculiar dialect, a mixture of popular 
Andalusian, old Castilian, and various aboriginal words. 

A native of Puerto Rico connected with the Cuban 

group about Milanes who sought to put poetry out to 

^ social service was Narciso de Foxa. His poems were 

partly descriptive, partly allegorical. His most ambitious 

effort was a Canto epico sohre el Descubrimiento de America. 

Alejandro Tapia (1827-82), who as a youth Hkewise 
found encouragement from Domingo del Monte, was 
the most prolific writer yet produced by Puerto Rico. 
Beginning with researches into the history of the island, 
he passed to the writing of historical dramas and novels 
and finally composed a pseudo-epic poem of great length. 
Living in Havana in 1862 he printed a volume. El Bardo 
de Guamaniy containing his first productions, various 
lyrics, a prose tale, La Antigua Sirena, and the dramas, 
Bernardo de Palissy and Roberto d'Evreux. The latter in 
representing Queen Elizabeth of England contains a 
notable monologue by her before she signs the death 
warrant of Mary Stuart. After the publication of this 
volume Tapia returned to Puerto Rico. There he wrote 
and staged several dramas, CamoenSy 1868, Vasco Nunez 
de Balboa, 1873, and others. 

Tapia then turned his attention to narrative, producing 


Cofresi in 1876, a tale dealing with the legendary history 
of Puerto Rico; and Postumo el Transmigradoy the imag- 
inary story of a man whose soul transmigrated into the 
body of his enemy. Later Tapia wrote in the same 
vein Postumo Envirgenado, which related the adventures 
of a man in the body of a woman. The spiritualistic 
leanings which led Tapia to interest himself in this sort 
of tale induced him to spend energy for sixteen years in 
composing La Sataniada in thirty cantos. 

The extravagant prolixity of this poem, a curious com- 
pound of science and religion, attempts an explanation of 
the universe according to the fundamental notion that 
this world is hell, ruled by Satan. Poets are apostles to 
lead the human race to a superior development here and 
hereafter. The author expected his poem would take rank 
as the fourth epic of universal literature after the Iliad, 
the Divina Comedia, and Faust. 

Of more real value than his literary work perhaps was 
Tapia's influence on his compatriots for he showed them 
the way to better education and better literary tastes. 
He died suddenly at a public meeting when explaining a 
plan for the education of poor children. 

Certain journalists and publicists have greatly contrib- 
uted by their writings to determining the intellectual 
movement in Puerto Rico. Roman Baldorioty de Castro 
(1822- .? ), was the most popular of his countrymen on 
account of his efforts to obtain better political conditions 
from the Spaniards. As a deputy for Puerto Rico in the 
Spanish Cortes Constituyentes of 1869, he strove for the 
abolition of slavery and attracted considerable attention 
by his 'able speeches. In 1874, political reaction com- 


pelled him to emigrate to Santo Domingo where he taught 
at the University. At the moment Santo Domingo was 
enjoying a renaissance of culture, and was glad to welcome 
him as well as his compatriot, E. M. Hostos. When Bal- 
dorioty was permitted to return home, he spent his time 
expounding in the papers his liberal views urging political 
autonomy for Puerto Rico and become president of a 
society working for that end. 

^ Manuel Corchado (1840-84) was another publicist 
who strove for improvements in conditions in his native 
island. To further the efforts for the abolition of slavery, 
he wrote a Biografia de Lincoln. He was famous as an 
orator and put his talents at the service of his compatriots 
as a deputy to the Spanish Cortes. He wrote poems also, 
chiefly of the civic type. 

yC Eugenio Maria de Hostos (1839-1903), belongs not only 
to Puerto Rico but to Santo Domingo and Chile, which 
countries profited by his remarkable intellect. But the 
course of his life was determined by his patriotic love of 
his country. He was established in Spain as a young 
lawyer in 1868, when the stand which he took in arguing 
with the government for reforms in Puerto Rico resulted 
in his banishment. He went first to the United States 
where he worked with the Cuban revolutionary junta. 
The ideal which he consistently urged all his life was the 
political union of all the Antilles. Leaving the United 
States he traveled over Spanish America. In 1880 he 
was invited to Santo Domingo, where he performed the 
most important labor of his career in organizing along 
modem lines the schools of that land. After nine years 
of labor he was expelled by the reactionary dictator 


Heureaux. Chile then offered him a professorship in her 
national university. As professor of international law he 
composed a textbook on the subject which is held in high 
esteem throHghout Latin America. In 1898 he tried to 
organize a league of patriots against the domination of 
the United States in Puerto Rico and to carry out his 
scheme for a union of the Antilles. 

Poets who flourished in Puerto Rico before the mod- 
emista movement were Gautier Benitez, Francisco Al- 
varez, a becquerista adherent, and D. F. J. Amy who 
^^anslated many poems by North Americans. The 
poetess, Dona Lola Rodriguez de Tio, whose first volume, 
Mis Cantares, was published in 1876, achieved her greatest 
successes in Cuba where for many years she was a favorite 
at literary gatherings. In the words of a Cuban, "Her 
poetry is herself, nobility, sentiment, uprightness, love of 
home, friendship." She still contributes occasionally 
to the periodicals. 

Manuel Fernandez Juncos (bom 1846) took upon him- 
self the task of preserving the literary history of Puerto 
Rico. Beside writing articles on its customs he prepared 
a valuable anthology of its writers. 


During the colonial period Central America, now di- 
vided into the five republics, Guatemala, Honduras, EI 
Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, was politically 
organized, together with the adjoining Mexican state of 
Chiapas, into the captaincy general of Guatemala. When 
Mexico won its independence of Spain the whole territory 


temporarily became a part of that country, but in 1823 the 
five provinces estabhshed themselves as the Republic of 
the United States of Central America. But after fifteen 
years of union internal dissensions broke up the con- 
federation into its component parts which despite various 
attempts at reunion have remained independent republics. 

Of the total population approximating five million 
about two-fifths dwell in Guatemala, one-fifth in the 
densely inhabited and mountainous El Salvador. The 
majority of the people are of mixed Spanish and Indian 
blood, for the native races have been well absorbed. Never- 
theless, regions exist where the Indians remain the same 
primitive savages as their ancestors were at the time of 
the first Spanish conquests of Cortes and Pedro de Al- 
varado. In Costa Rica, visited by Columbus on his third 
voyage and subjugated by Pedrarias de Avila from Panama 
in 15 13, the population of three hundred and fifty thousand 
contains a much larger percentage of unmixed Spanish 
blood than that of the other states. 

Apart from the numerous revolutions and almost in- 
cessant fighting in these republics, the most discussed 
incident in their recent history was the attempt by the 
North American filibuster, William Walker, to carve out 
new slave territory to be added to our southern states. 
Temporarily successful in Nicaragua in 1856, he was. cap- 
tured and shot during an expedition in i860 into Honduras. 

During the colonial period there was produced in the 
monastic establishments of Guatemala a considerable 
bulk of writing mainly in Latin. In that language was 
written by Rafael Landivar (1731-93), a member of a 
religious order in Guatemala, a poem Rusticatio mexicana 


which critics have universally praised for its high literary 
merit. Having for its topic the beauties and wonders of 
America it belongs to that Virgilian type of descriptive 
poetry so common to American literature. The poem has 
attracted many translators, and especially to be praised 
is the Spanish version of the Mexican Joaquin Arcadio 

Natives of Central America who have attained literary 
fame achieved it often out of their own country where the 
opportunity for development was too restricted. The 
most notable instance is that of the leader of the modem- 
ista movement throughout America, Ruben Pario, who 
was bom in Nicaragua, and exercised his poetical gifts 
in Buenos Aires. Yet the Central American aboriginal 
strain in his blood so evident in his portrait tinges also 
his writings. 

A native of Guatemala whose life was likewise chiefly 
spent away from his native land was Antonio Jose de 
Irisarri (i 786-1 868). Inheriting immense wealth from 
his father, he was obliged to go to Peru for the purpose 
of looking after his property. Moreover, he had relatives 
there and in Chile among the wealthiest and most in- 
fluential families. Espousing the cause of the revolution, 
he held prominent offices in both the military and civil 
establishments. Obliged by the success of the Spanish 
arms in 18 14 to leave Chile he went to Europe by way of 
Buenos Aires. When Chile won her independence in 1818 
Irisarri was appointed as her diplomatic representative 
in Paris and London in which capacity he remained till 
1825. His principal achievement was the obtaining for 
Chile of a loan on more favorable terms than those usually 


granted to the American republics. From Europe he re- 
turned to Guatemala in time to take part in one of the 
internal quarrels of the new republic. Though general 
of an army he was captured and remained a prisoner for 
nine months till he was allowed to escape and betake him- 
self again to Chile. Again he occupied various public 
offices. In 1837 he was appointed Chilean minister in 
Lima. A year later he removed to Ecuador and lived there 
till 1845. Thence by way of Colombia, Venezuela, Cura- 
sao, Jamaica, Cuba he came to New York, arriving in 
1849. In 1855 he was made the diplomatic representative 
of Guatemala in the United States. 

Wherever Irisarri resided his pen was diligently em- 
ployed and his means permitted him to found periodicals 
for the publication of its products. One of these period- 
icals most worthy of mention is El Censor americano, 
printed in 1820 in London. To it Andres Bello contributed 
and possibly took therefrom the idea of the reviews which 
he himself edited. The character of Irisarri^s writings was 
as diverse as the requirements of his numerous journals. 
Many of his political polemics were also printed in pam- 
phlet form. His productions in verse he collected in the 
volume entitled Poesias satiricas y burlescasy while his 
articles on grammar and philology of which he was ex- 
cessively fond he republished in Cuestiones filogicas. 
V To another native of Guatemala, Jose de Batres y 

Montufar (1809-44), the Spanish critic Menendez y Pelayo 
accords the highest praise. He ranks him with the best 
poets of America, though the Guatemalan's principal work, 
Tradiciones de Guatemala^ consisting of three merry tales 
in verse, belongs to a minor genre. The title is somewhat 


misleading because the stories are three bits of scandal 
which might be localized anywhere. But they are related 
without offensive details, gracefully, and with merry 
humor. Moreover, they abound in local color when the 
author describes the procession on St. Cecelia's day or 
caricatures the old hidalgo, Pascual del Pescon. The 
author pretended merely to translate in royal octaves the 
tales of the Italian poet Casti but his work is original. 
He imitated Byron to the extent of making, like his Don 
Juan, skeptical and misanthropic digressions from the 
Inarrative. Altogether Batres y Montufar, according to 
the Spanish critic, is the "most finished model of jocose 

The romantic movement awakened echoes in Central 
America. By his Tardes de Abril the Guatemalan Juan 
Dieguez (1813-66) became a most popular poet and his 
brilliant evocations of nature are known to all his country- 
men. His Oda a la Independencia fills their special need 
for an expression of patriotism, while La Garza, written in 
exile, voices feelings experienced by many fellow country- 

The most prolific writer in Guatemala was Jose Milla X* 
(1822-82), "Salome Gil," who long held the position of 
editor of the Gaceta Oficial. He busied himself with the 
study of history and not only wrote a Historia de Guatemala 
but gave forth the results of his studies in many historical 
novels. One of the earliest, Don Bonifacio, written in 
verse, novelizes an episode which occurred in 1731. His 
prose novels contain realistic pictures of life in Guatemala. 

During the years from 1854 to i860 a Spaniard, Fran- 
cisco Velarde, directed a school in Guatemala which ex- yC 



ercised a considerable influence on the young men who 
attended it. Velarde was a romantic poet whose Melodias 
TomdnticaSy and Cdnticos del Nuevo Mundo belong to the 
school of Zorrilla. The author being personally known 
these poems have been much imitated in America. 
Through him the Indian legend became popular. 

In the republic of El Salvador there have lived several 
poets worthy of mention. Juan Jose Bemal wrote in a 
X mystic vein with a feeling for nature. Juan Jose Caiias 
(1826-00) possessed a sentimental and patriotic note. At 
the time of the gold fever in California he visited the mines 
there but without material success. Later he fought 
against the filibustering expedition of William Walker. 
Then he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Chile. All 
these experiences were recorded in his poems. Fond of 
the ocean his best poems recall his voyages, especially 
the patriotic lines A. J. M. Dow, capitdn del vapor Guate- 
mala and the sentimental Se va el vapor, long a favorite 
song in Costa Rica. 
^^ ^saac Ruiz Araujo (1850-81) and Francisco^JE^^Qalindo^ 
(1850-00) compete with each other for the place of premier 
poet of Salvador. Their themes were love, natural scenery 
and patriotism. The latter also wrote a play in three 
acts, Dos Flores, with a patriotic plot^ 

Joaquin Aragon (b. 1863) was a diligent versifier of 
national legends some of which were lengthy. Milta, 
for example, was the story of an Indian maid by that 
name who fell in love with a young officer in the first 
Spanish army that came to Cuscatlan (such was the na- 
tive name for the country) under the leadership of Pedro 
de Alvarado. The young man for love of her refuses to 


obey the orders of his superiors. Soon thereafter the 
woman was ordered by the cacique of her village to kill 
the Spaniard. As the command was said to be from 
God, she obeyed but promptly killed herself. When the 
Spanish soldiers, coming to arrest the deserter, found 
that he has been murdered, they slaughtered the whole 

The semi-official anthologies of the Central American 
states make a brave showing of poets in the matter of 
number, but a reading of their productions does not im- 
press one with great merit. In Costa Rica the becquerista 
manner, had a considerable following. Emilio Pacheco, 
Carlos Gagini, and Rafael Machado were the most pro- 
lific. When the modemista movement attracted atten- 
tion there arose in that state a poet, Aquileo J. Echeverria, 
who deserves wider recognition for his criollo romances. 

To Nicaragua abundance of literary honor has been 
conferred by having been the birthplace of Ruben Dario. 
Also bom in Nicaragua was Santiago Argiiello whose 
verses in the modemista manner have attracted favorable 
attention in other countries where he has lived. 



The year 18&8 may be adopted to make a date for the 
most recent movement in Spanish-American literature. 
In that year Ruben Dario (1867-1916), published in 
Valparaiso a volume of prose and verse entitled Azul^ 
instantly received with acclaim by the young men. The 
peculiar qualities of these poems were not wholly Dario's 
invention though their excellency of execution displayed 
the high quality of his poetic gifts. From Mexico, from 
Cuba, from Colombia, from every country where men 
were writing the Spanish language, this talented poet 
absorbed tendencies and methods and welded them into 
a product of his own. In Buenos Aires, a group of ardent 
admirers became imitators of the new style. To provide 
an outlet for their productions they founded a periodical, 
an example which was followed by young men in other 
countries who proclaimed themselves adherents of the 
new school. 

The modemista idea consisted in an adaptation to the 
Spanish language of the form and substance of the French 
Parnassian, decadent and symbolist schools of verse. 
Beginning with translation and imitation the Spanish 
Americans progressed till the content of the poems was 
largely derived from American sources. In poetic forms 
and meters they effected a revolution whose influence 



spread to Spain itself. The poets consciously sought to 
widen the horizon of poetic endeavor by rejecting the 
tyranny of ancient rules of prosody. Their cult of beauty 
led them to evocations of ancient Greece and their love 
of elegance to the Versailles of the eighteenth century. 
In reaction against the excesses of the naturalistic school, 
they believed that art had a mission as a creator of beauty 
to cover, as it were with a veil, the brutality of human 
life. In rebellion against the narrowing influences of 
regionalism they hoped to find a common basis for their 
literary art in the theory that their civilization was 
European. The later poets have rejected this theory and 
built on a universal Americanism which finds its bond 
of union in a common language and a similar racial 

That a type of literature so artificial in its leading 
characteristics should meet with such wide acceptance 
proves that it corresponded to the needs and desires of 
Spanish Americans. Their various countries were pass- 
ing through a feverish stage of material development 
which to men of artistic temperament offered little that 
was stimulating. For that reason they looked abroad. 
Momentarily the Teutonic spirit as revealed to them in 
Becquer*s poems and the translations from Heine made 
by Perez Bonalde and the Cubans Antonio and Francisco 
Sellen made a strong appeal. But the love of the exotic, 
so strong in all modernista poets, was better satisfied by 
the work of the French poets. Verlaine was the favorite, 
but there was scarcely one of them who has not had his 

Though Ruben Dario was the master, his precursors 



in America were not without influence on his work. Fnre- 
most in point of time was the Mexican Gutierrez Najera 
wRcTstrove to adapt to the SpantslT language some of 
the musical qualities of the French. To his efforts may 
be traced the modernista demand that speech should be 
endowed with the emotional power of music. Keenly 
sensitrve^o music he gave a poetical interpretation to a 
favorite composition in his poem La Serenata de Schuberiy 
of which he says "so would my soul speak if it could." 
His masterpiece in imparting to words the suggestive 
quality of music was his last poem, J la Corregidoray 
written for recitation at the laying of the cornerstone of a 
monument to a lady. The poet bids the attentive ear 
listen to the opening of the buds in the spring, to the 
murmuring waters and the singing of the birds; the whole 
earth is hymning the psalm of life to the lady and offering 
incense at her altar. The novelty is not in the ideas, but 
in the method whereby the poet succeeds in conveying 
them as much by the sheer flow of verbal sound as by the 
meaning of his words. 

Another poet, also a Mexican, to whom Ruben Dario 
owed something was Salvador Diaz Miron. The latter 
put a personal stamp not only on the energetic handling 
of his personal or social themes, but also on a certain 
meter, the hendecasyllabic quatrain. This meter, though 
not widely used in Spain, was popular in Spanish America 
for religious and love poetry. Diaz Miron adapted it to 
heroic themes, in which form it was widely imitated and 
became associated with his name. Ruben Dario in Azul 
paid him the compliment of a sonnet which gave a just 
characterization of Diaz Miron's verses as follows: 


Your quatrain is a four yoked chariot drawn by wild eagles 
who love the tempests and the oceans. Heavy brands and stone 
clubs are the proper weapons for your hands. Your mind has 
craters and ejects lavas. Your rude strophes, never slaves, 
travel over the mountains and plains of art like a herd of Amer- 
ican buffaloes. What sounds from your lyre sounds far, as 
when Boreas speaks or the thunder. Son of the new world, let 
humanity hear the pomp of your lyric hymns which triumphantly 
salute liberty. 

It is a tribute to Dario*s versatility that he could draw 
inspiration from this fire-eater when his own habit of 
mind, loving elegance' and beauty, was so different. It 
was easy on the other hand for him to find suggestions 
in the work of a Cuban poet, Julian del Casal, who was 
living in a world of his own creation, a bit of Japan set 
down in Havana. 

Julian del CasaI^(i863-93), completely imbued with the 
spirit of French_£oetry, not only composed his verses in 
the same manner but arranged his daily life in keeping 
with its suggestions. For a poetic canon he adopted the 
epistle which accompanies the- second volume of Jean 
MoresLS^ Les Cantilenes. His living-room he furnished in 
Japan'SsFstyle so minutely, that he even kept joss sticks 
scented with sandal wood burning before an image of 
Buddha. This love of Oriental elegance appears in his 
poems, notably Kakemono in which he describes to the 
last detail of color and outline the toilet of a geisha, the 
make-up of her face, the arrangement of her hair and the 
embroidery of her silken clothing. Parisian elegance 
had no less a fascination for his mind. As, however, he 
had never been in Paris, that world was equally an im- 
aginary one, as exotic as the ancient Greek world whose 


beauty he loved. Thepessimism of Baudelaire and Ban- 
ville likewise appealed to his nature. They scarcely sur- 
passed Casal in his expressions of discontent at the uni- 
verse, or of horror at early death which in point of fact 
he did meet. 

The souget^practiced with such perfection by Leconte 
de ITsle and J. M. de Heredia was CasaFs favorite form 
of verse. Like them he drew vivid pictures whose care- 
lully chosen details leave a strong impression on the 
reader's mind. His portraits of individuals, Prometheus, 
Salome, Helen of Troy are unique. The sonnet on the 
latter, for example, is a gem of great beauty. The first 
quatrain refers to the heaps of the slain, the second draws 
attention to the smoking ruins of Ilion, the tercets reveal 
Helen "wrapped in a vestment of opaline gauze spangled 
with gold" as "she gazes indifferent at the murky horizon, 
toying with a lily in her rosy fingers." With equal skill 
Casal depicted persons of the actual world about him in 
Havana; the barefoot friar begging for alms whose mind 
is distracted between the call to mass from the convent 
bell and the braying of his ass; the maja, clad in a gaily 
embroidered Manila shawl, whose little slippers, as she 
dances, dart back and forth beneath her skirt of black 
lace and green satin "like timid doves in the foliage." 

Though Casal lived in an artificial world of his own 
creation he took an interest in the troubled politics which 
was agitating Havana and his friends who were writing 
like himself for La Habana Elegante, He wrote not only a 
few poems on certain abhorred acts of the government but 
also contributed prose sketches on Havana society. One 
of the latter containing piquant references to the governor 


and his family brought the police to the office of the 
periodical. Among his essays in prose should be men- 
tioned a study of Joris Karl Huysmans whose work Casal 
greatly admired. Some of his articles in prose were 
collected in the volume entitled Bustos y Rimas, published 
in 1893. His earlier poems were printed in Hojas al 
VientOy 1890, and NievCy 1891. 

The dates of these collections would show that Casal 
was merely contemporary with Ruben Dario, but as 
CasaFs poems began to appear in periodicals in the middle 
eighties there can be no doubt that Dario was conversant 
with them. And if Casal was not an actual precursor of 
Dario it is certain that the latter*s verses in Prosas Prof anas 
show in a more marked degree than in his Azul that love 1 
of the exotic, that delight in color and that sensual joy 
in the refinements of elegance which Casal displayed from 
the first. 5^oreover, Dario passed several weeks in Havana 
in intiniate acquaintance with Casal. They wrote poems 
in collaboration from which it is impossible for the critic 
to separate their respective compositions. And in Paginal 
de Vida Casal, without mentioning Dario's name, described 
the visitation of a poet who strove to move him from his 

Another contemporary whose metrical experiments 
taught Dario something was the Colombian Jose. Asuncion ){ 
SilyaJ^i 860-96), truly a poet of the first rank. Alva's 
verses possess the charm of strong personal feeling set 
forth sincerely in musical language. Ihough^essimistic 
in ton^ there is no pose about them and at times the joy 
of living shines through the gloom of disillusion. If ever 
a man has been harassed by bad fortune it was Silva. Of 


aristocratic lineage he was bom handsome and wealthy. 
But he suffered one blow of fortune after another. His 
family inheritance was swept away by a revolution in 
Colombia. His father dying it devolved on the son not 
only to support the family but to attempt to recover some 
part of the lost property. In this he was unsuccessful. 
The manuscript of a literary work of which he had high 
hopes was lost at sea during transmission to France for 
publication. His verses, his chief solace in evil days, were 
not printed in collected form till after his death. Finally 
a beautiful sister of whom he was very fond was claimed 
by death. So he could think of no relief for his ills but the 
taking of his own life by a pistol shot. 

The obggssJQ n of death and the pessimistic attitude of 
one whose joy in living is almost childlike are the striking 
characteristics of Silva's mentality. Childhood memories 
frequently recur to him. In the musical poem Crepusculo 
he retells the fairy stories which delighted his babyhood 
days and crowd into his mind as he listens to the grand- 
mother singing a child to sleep. 

The most widely known of Silva*s poems are Los Noc - 
turngSi^onsistmg of the brief relation of four love scenes 
with a tragic note. Metrically these display Silva's 
originality in the handling of long and short lines in an 
attempt to adjust the rhythm of the verse to the inward 
rhythm of the thought. One of his methods was the 
repetition of words or lines assisted by the mode of print- 
ing. He sought, for example, to evoke the shadows of the 
lovers in the moonlight thus: 

Y tu sombra 
fina y languida 


y mi sombra, 
por los rayos de la luna proyectadas, 

sobre las arenas tristes < ^ 

de la senda se juntaban, / >^ 
y eran una, <i>-) 

y eran una, /%i* 

y eran una sola sombra larga, ^^ 
y eran una sola sombra larga, 
y eran una sola sombra larga. 

One of Silva's finest poems is Ante la Estatua, referring 
to the famous statue of Bolivar in the public square of 
Bogota. Its pessimistic purpose of pointing out the 
pettiness of mankind is again characteristic. The poet's 
attention is drawn to the bronze figure because he sees 
two boys playing in front of the statue. As he meditates 
he hears a voice speak of the hero in a depreciative manner. 
Tales of colonfal times occur to the poet*s memory, and 
the form of the Liberator rises before his eyes, who dis- 
courses at length on the hours of bitterness falling to his 
lot in his last years at the hands of the peoples for whom 
he had labored. 

Silva*s metrical mannerisms when imitated by others 
degenerated. He was as inimitable as Edgar Allen Poe 
whom Silva greatly admired, and whose rendering of the 
sound of bells he tried to rival in Spanish in El Dia de 
Difuntos, In fact Poe was a favorite not only with Silva 
but with other modernista poets. The references to Poe 
in their works, as well as to Walt Whitman are numerous. 
With the latter in fact they seem to feel a certain affinity. 
Ruben Dario often calls on the name of Walt Whitman as 
the one singer of the New World who tried to be truly 


It is a tribute to Ruben Dario's talent that he could 

gather ideas from so many diverse sources arid make them 

/into his own by means of his marvelous ability for writing 

' verses. He was like a bee that could make honey from 

many flowers. His life too was that of the wanderer. Bom 

in Nicaragua, he emigrated to the west coast of South 

America and thence to Buenos Aires. While in Chile he 

made his first great literary success by the publication of 

\ \\ Azul. This book was partly in prose and partly in verse. 

It is a mark of Dario's unusual ability that an account of 

his career must consider both his prose and his verse. 

The prose compositions of Azul were impressionistic 
pieces, almost poems in prose. Though most have the 
form of tales or fairy stories, their scenes being laid in 
Greece or some other land of the author's imagination, 
some are mere torrents of imagery. Nearly all teach the 
compelling force of the desire for the ideal, whether for 
the poet the ideal is a nymph in the wood. La Ninfa, or for 
the gnome the ruby. El Rubi, symbol of the reproductive 
power of mother earth. Blue is the color of the ideal, like 
the veil of Queen Mab, El Velo de la Reina Mab, who comes 
in her car made of a single pearl to the four lean unshaven 
men in the garret, the sculptor, the painter, the musician, 
and the poet. Complaining bitterly of their luck, their 
lamentations are turned to laughter after she has wrapped 
them in her veil through which they glimpse life with a 
rosy tint. 

The most important pg^ Azul were those which 
voiced the feelings excited in the poet's mind by the four 
seasons of the year. Spring of course suggests love; but 
so do the others. Summer love is symbolized in the mating 


of Bengal tigers. That day, however, the tigress was 
killed in the hunt by the Prince of Wales; wherefore the 
tiger mourning in his lair dreamed of revenge, of sinking 
his claws in the tender bosoms of children and maidens. 
Love in the Autumn is tinged with the melancholy of the 
season of dying things; nevertheless a friendly fairy 
whispers secrets to the poet, what the birds are singing, 
what the girls are dreaming. As for Winter, its snows 
may drive men from the city streets to sit by the fire of 
crackling logs, but what better music to accompany 
caresses and kisses.? 

The peculiarities and excellencies of Azul were pointed 
out by Don Juan Valera in his famous criticism printed in 
his Cartas americanas. The Spanish critic was impressed 
by the Gallic quality of Dario*s style, especially of his 
prose. As his language was excellent Castilian, Valera 
termed Dario*s Gallicism mental rather than verbal. 
Azul was a pure work_of art with the stamp of originality. 
Though it showed that its autFoFwas^saturated with the 
most extreme type of French literature, he imitated ,no 
one writer. His adoration _of^ nature was pantheistic. 
And though at times there was an exuberance of sensual 
love, as in the poems on the seasons of the year, there was 
something religious about that love. Though applauding 
the perfection of his "mental Gallicism," Valera wished 
that there occupied a larger place in Dario's art the teach- 
ings of Spanish literature. As for the title of the book, or 
more especially the motto from Victor Hugo, "L'art, 
c'est Tazur!" it seemed to the critic merely an empty 
phrase. Why is art blue rather than green, red, or yellow? 

Between Azul, published in 1888, and Dario's next 


[x) volume of poems, Pros as Prof anas ^ 1896, he took vast 
strides along the road of mental Gallicism. While there 
is no evidence of his following Valera's advice regarding 
the study of Spanish literature, he was certainly well 
read in the classics and in the poets of the fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries. He even wrote poems in imitation 
of the archaic and introduced archaic words into his 
vocabulary. Moreover, he undoubtedly welcomed any 
suggestion that came to him from the work of his con- 
temporaries. In addition those eight years were full of 
experience. In Buenos Aires, an enthusiastic group of 
young men formed a coterie of modemista poets. In 1892 
he was in Europe. In Madrid, where he represented 
Nicaragua at the quadricentennial celebration of the 
discovery of America, he made the acquaintance of the 
Andalusian poet, Salvador Rueda. For the latter's En 
Tropel Dario wrote some verses by way of prologue with 
the title P&fiiQO. To these verses are commonly ascribed 
the entrance into Spanish literature of the modemista 
influence. In Paris he made the personal acquaintance 
of many French poets as well as a rather critical study of 
the works of the decadent and symbolist schools. The 
articles which he contributed to periodicals on these men 
were collected in Los Raros. Taken together they express 
Dario's own literary ideal, art is the rare, the strange, the 
unusual, so well embodied in the title for the volume of 
verses which he wrote during these years, " Profane 

But to please this poet's sensibilities the strange and 
rare must be conjoined with the elegant and the sump- 
tuous. His artistic creed may be art for art's sake, with 


little concern for conventional morality, but he has no 
liking for the ugly and vulgar. He is no follower of 
Baudelaire. Rather his exquisite senses demand clean 
beauty, fine lace, shining jewels, sweet odors, brilliant 
flowers, the refinements of classic Greece or of eighteenth- 
century French society. The lady of his dreams is some- 
times typified by Leda, more often she is a marquise of 
the old regime. 

From the point of view of versification, Prosas Prof anas 
contains all manner of experiments aiming at a greater 
metrical freedom as well as new poetic forms. It was the 
poems of this volume that gave models to other mod- 
emistas. A single example of the many good pieces in 
it is the favorite Sinfonia en gris mayor. The novelty of 
this poem, the emphasis given to one color was probably 
suggested by G^tier's Symphonie en hlanc majeure but 
Dario seems to have applied also Rimbaud's conception 
of vocaHc tone color. The vowel of the word "gris" 
(gray), the only assonance used throughout the poem, 
may be employed even in the English rendering for the 
same purpose. 

The sea as in a silvered glass 
Reflects a sky as gray as zinc; 
Afar some birds in bands, like stains, 
Into the polished surface sink. 

The sun, a disk opaque and round. 
Slow climbs the zenith, old and sick, 
The seawind rests within the shade. 
Its pillow a cloud-bank gray and thick. 

The waves heaving with leaden beat 
Beneath the wharf their moan begin; 


A sailor sitting on a coil of rope. 
Puffing his pipe, is rapt in thought 
Of fog-clad home and distant kin. 

A wandering wolf the old seadog; 
Brazilian suns have tanned his skin; 
Typhoons in China, fierce and wild. 
Have seen him drink his flask of gin. 

His nose so red has long been known 
To salt sea spray, which knows them still, i 
His curly hair, his biceps huge, 
His canvas cap, his blouse of drill. 

Through smoke upcurling from his pipe 
His foggy land the old marine 
Can glimpse, from where one sultry day 
Shook out her sails his barkentine. 

In tropic siesta he falls asleep. 
While gray on all its mark imprints. 
The sky to the horizon shows 
A draftsman's scale of grayish tints. 

The tropic siesta: the locust old 
Essays her guitar hoarse and thin; fV" 
The cricket plays in monotone J^ 

On the single string of her violin.^ /jM^^^ 

The preeminent quality of the verses in Prosas Prof anas 

, was grace; in his next volume of collected poems. Cantos 

[^) de Vida y Esperanza, 1905, it was force. Many of these 

poems had been called forth by public events. The 

Spanish-American world at the turn of the century had 

^ Version of Alfred Coestcr. 


been stirred to the depths of its soul, first by the revolu- 
tion in Cuba, and second by the Spanish-American war. 
Though sympathizing with Cuba the Spanish Americans 
felt the call of the race against the great northern re- 
public. In their Tyrtaean outcries Ruben Dario followed 
rather than led. 

He was essentially a poet of personal expression. Writ- 
ing some verses as an introduction to the Cantos de Vida y 
Esperanza, he made with engaging frankness a confession 
of his past and a criticism of his literary career which 
leaves only the details to be supplied by the biographer. 
He referred to the ideas of his youth, his sensuality, his 
love of beauty, the bitterness of disillusion, his longing for 
sincerity in art; at last he feels that "the caravan sets out 
for Bethlehem." It cannot be said, however, in spite of 
certain poems on repentance, that Ruben Dario seriously 
renounced his Epicureanism or became devout as did 
Verlaine and other French poets of his acquaintance. 

Metrically the new experiment in Cantos de Vida y 
Esperanza was an attempt at the classic hexameter, the 
meter which he selected as most worthy for his political 
themes. In La Salutacion al Optimista, beginning with 
the line, 

Inclitas razas uberrimas, sangre de Hispania fecunda, 

he not only set a new model for patriotic utterances in 
verse, but he extended a greeting to Spanish Americans 
urging them to lay aside their quarrels and look to the 
future when the ancient Latin stock should rule a new 
continent. The enemy most to be feared seemed the 
"colossus of the north" which for the moment was typified 


in President Roosevelt. Accordingly in an ode A Roose- 
velt, Dario thus abjured the bogey of Anglo-Saxon domina- 

'Tis only with the Bible or Walt Whitman's verse, 

That you, the mighty hunter, are reached by other men. 

You're primitive and modern, you're simple and complex, 

A veritable Nimrod with aught of Washington. 

You are the United States; 

You are the future foe 

Of free America that keeps its Indian blood, 

That prays to Jesus Christ, and speaks in Spanish still. 

You are a fine example of a strong and haughty race; 

You're learned and you're clever; to Tolstoy you're oppose d; 

And whether taming horses or slaying savage beasts, 

You seem an Alexander and Nebuchadnezzar too. 

As madmen to-day are wont to say. 

You're a great professor of energy. 

You seem to be persuaded 

That life is but combustion, 

That progress is eruption, 

And where you send the bullet j 

You bring the future. 

The United States are rich; they're powerful and epyit; 
They join the cult of Mammon to that of Hercirfes, 
And when they stir and roar, the very Andes shake. . . . 

But our America, which since the ancient times 

Has had its native poets; which lives on fire and light. 

On perfumes and on love; our vast America, 

The land of Montezuma, the Inca's mighty realm. 

Of Christopher Columbus the fair America, 

America the Spanish, the Roman Catholic, 

O men of Saxon eyes and fierce barbaric soul. 

This land still lives and dreams, and loves and stirs I 


Take care! 
The daughter of the Sun, the Spanish land doth live! 
And from the Spanish lion a thousand whelps have sprung! 
*Tis need, O Roosevelt, that you be God himself . . . 
Before you hold us fast in your grasping iron claws. 

And though you count on all, one thing is lacking, — God!* 

This popular and interesting expression of the common 
Spanish-American conception of the United States was 
largely repudiated by Dario in a subsequent poem Salu- 
tacion al Jguila, written to welcome the North American 
delegates to the Pan-American Congress held in Brazil 
in 1906. In this poem he prays for the secret of the north- 
^ em republic's political and material success and reminds 
the Eagle that the Condor exists with his brother in the 
lofty heights. Together they may achieve marvels. 
Rather than write such sentiments as these a Venezuelan 
critic said he would have cut off his hand. 

The volume in which this poem was printed, pi Canto 
trrante, 1907, contained verses of many periods grouped 
to bring out the idea suggested by the title that the poet's 
mission is to travel over the universe seeking beauty every- 
where and express it in beautiful language, for the soul of 
all things is Beauty. This pantheistic notion is a leading 
characteristic of some of Dario's followers. 

The modemista school in so far as it was influenced by 
Ruben Dario, started with imitation of Jzul and the 
verses collected in Prosas Prof anas. The establishment of 
the Revista Latina by his coterie in Buenos Aires was 
the signal for ambitious young men in other centers of 
»VersionofE.C. Hills. 


Latin culture in America to found such periodicals as 
La Revista Azul in Mexico, Cosmopolis in Caracas, and 
Pluma i Ldpiz in Santiago de Chile. These periodicals 
were short lived but stimulated the establishment of El 
Cojo Ilustrado of Caracas and the Revista Moderna of 
Mexico, both of which for more than a decade at the turn 
of the century were the leading literary journals of Latin 
America. In them might be read the best literature that 
was being produced. No poet, however, developed the 
versatility of Ruben Dario though in Buenos Aires there 
were several writers with distinct personalities working 
along original lines. 
\/ Of these Leopoldo Diaz, bom 1862, selected the sonnet 

as his favorite mode of expression and was really a Par- 
nassian in the manner of the French poet, J. M. de Heredia. 
The sonnets reveal a sensuous love of beauty under the 
guise of Hellenism, which is not derived, however, from 
a study of ancient Greece, but from Parisian poets. Fol- 
lowing the trend of his contemporary Americans, Diaz 
wrote one volume of sonnets devoted to the early Spaniards 
in America, Los Conquistadores. In all his work Diaz' 
special merit is his clever handling of the Spanish language. 
In regard to it the French critic, Remy de Gourmont, in a 
preface to a French translation of Las Sombras de Hellas, 
coined the term "neo-espanol." 

He said: "The Spanish language lives again free and 
rejuvenated in the old Castilian colonies which have 
become proud republics. This new literature owes little 
to Spain beside the language; its ideas are European. Its 
intellectual capital is Paris. ... In the purest 'new- 
Spanish' Diaz sings of Greek beauty. This language 


more supple than the rude classic Castilian is also more 
clear; the phrase constructed in the French manner pur- 
sues a course more logical, more according to the natural 
course of thought." 

Such ideas raised a storm of protest from Spaniards, 
while Spanish Americans were not quite content to agree 
to all its implications. Their efforts to enrich their vo- 
cabulary were by no means limited to Gallicisms, for 
they studied the Spanish classics and revived many old 
terms as well as adopted such aboriginal words as repre- 
sented native conditions. Those members of the literary 
coterie in Buenos Aires who most consciously strove 
for a richer and more expressive vocabulary were Ricardo 
Jaimes Freyre and Leopoldo Lugones. 

R. Jaimes Freyrejs a Bolivian by birth, and by profes- X 
sion a professor in the University of Tucuman. He was 
associated with Ruben Dario in the publication of the 
Revista Latina. His most notable poems were a series of 
picturesque evocations of the life of the pampas and 
certain experiments in the treatment of exotic themes, 
especially those derived from Scandinavian mythology. 
To the collection he gave the title Castalia Barbara. 

Lugones has written more extensively and on more X 
varied topics, progressing from a somewhat metaphysical 
type of verse to the production of essays on political and 
even mathematical topics. His latest enterprise was the 
editing in French of the Revue Sud-Americaine which, 
printed in Paris, had for its purpose a wide diffusion of 
knowledge of Spanish-American affairs. From his earliest 
verses in Montanas del Oro, or his prose in his romantic 
history of Paraguay, El Irnperiojesjatico, the choice of 



words has been Lugones' special care. In describing na- 
ture he wished to enter into the soul of the mountain 
crags or the fruits of the fields. At times he accomplished 
this by calling to mind the finished product of which the 
com, the cotton or the flax was the simplest and first 
element. What more poetic or more vivid word picture 
of a flax field in bloom than this? "Let us praise the 
flax in bloom, whose flowers are like shepherd girls dressed 
in their Sunday best of simple blue at the edge of the 
dusty paths." 

By the publication of his volume Crepusculos del Jardin, 
Lugones won a following in Argentina. About one-half 
of the poems in this book were sonnets in a very elegant 
and delicate style dealing with love and melancholy. 
Their structure, however, was simpler than those of the 
Uruguayan Herrera y Reissig by whom Lugones appeared 
to have been influenced. But Lugones* constant striving 
after eff^ect led to extravagance in the collection of poems 
entitled Lunario Sentimental whose main purpose seems 
to be to astound the commonplace reader. 

The desire to be understood only by the elect, a sort of 
new Gongorism, which is present even in Dario's poems, 
X was carried to the limit by the Uruguayan Julio Herrera y 
Reissig (died 1909). His sonnets, in spite of their in- 
volved rhetorical structure and their unusual terms, pos- 
sess considerable beauty. For that reason since the 
poet's death they have been "discovered" and are being 
read again. 

But obscurity or whimsicality was too often taken by 
the less gifted modemista poets to be the acme of art. 
One whose eccentricity, however, amounts to positive 


genius is the Mexican Amado Nervo. The bulk of his > 
writing is very great and generally too personal to admit 
analysis. His origjnalityjs his variety, sometimes termed 
his pantheism, because he pretends to write in the person 
of a druid, of a Merovingian king, of a plant or a butterfly. 
No less varied than his themes are his meters with the 
intermingling of long and short lines and even snatches of 
prose. He boasts of this, saying that he is not master of 
his rhymes, a statement which would describe the fact 
that he puts into verse every emotional experience. He 
is as much a poetic anarchist as Walt Whitman so much 
admired by the modemistas. The constant strain after 
the unusual in thought and expression reaches a climax 
perhaps in his calling a poem an "ultraviolet." Of late 
years while living in Europe Nervo has striven to be more 

Nervo's Epitalamig to King Alfonso XHI is a sustained 
poem of merit, noteworthy as an expression of a desire felt 
by many for a closer union between Spanish-speaking 
countries. In addressing the king, Nervo declares that 
Alfonso will always be the king in spirit of the eighteen 
Spanish-American republics. This poetical exaltation of 
the common origin of Spanish America became the turning 
point in the development of the modemista movement 
in poetry. Some critics are inclined to consider it definitely 
terminated with the adoption of purely American themes 
for poetical exploitation. The one poet who made him- 
self the chief exponent of "Americanism" was the Peruvian 
Jose Santos Chocano, bom 1875. 

Chocano at the age of nineteen found himself in prison y 
in Callao for participation in an attempted revolution. 



He vented his wrath in verses written in the pugnacious 
style of Diaz Miron. These he published as Iras Santas, 
in 1894, printed in red ink to make more emphatic his 
flaming words. More significant of his future were the 
poems of En la Aldea of about the same date descriptive 
of country life in Peru. Five years later when his long 
poem La E^opeya del Morro was given a prize by the 
Ateneo of Lima, Chocano had definitely found the path 
which was to lead him to celebrity as the rival of Ruben 
Dario for the title of "poet of America." Dario had 
taught the American poets how to make flexible the rigid 
classic versification, but his exotic themes, his eighteenth- 
century dames, his languishing swains were not so attract- 
ive as the virile deeds of the Spanish conquistador sung 
by Chocano. The sentiment of solidarity of race assisted 
in the welcome accorded Chocano's Alma America. Not 
only was Dario influenced to write in the same strain but 
a new school of poets sprang up who made America their 
special theme. 

Chocano's praise of America differs greatly from the 
old descriptive verse of Andres Bello; for it embraces not 
only the forests and fields but the aboriginal animals and 
races, the mountains and the cities, the Spanish adven- 
turers and their descendants. In his own words of the 
sonnet, Blason: 

I am the singer of America, aboriginal and wild; my lyre has 
a soul, my song an ideal. When I feel myself an Inca, I render 
homage to the Sun, which gives me the scepter of royal power. 
When I feel my Spanish blood, I evoke colonial days. My verses 
are like trumpets of crystal. 

Unlike some, Chocano does not share the fear of Yankee 


domination. In his Istmo de Panama, a most interesting 
poem, he gives praise to Anglo-Saxon energy and hints at 
the joint control of America by the Latin and Anglo-Saxon 
races. Though antagonists in the past he sees them 
brought together by the blessing of labor. At Panama, 
the place of their union, the Latin and negro races are per- 
forming the manual labor while North American intel- 
ligence directs. When, however, the canal is completed, 
it will benefit the Latin race more than the Anglo-Saxon. 
Again in El Canto del Porvenir, Chocano sings the union 
of the North and the South, declaring that America is the 
home of liberty, the daughter of a new race, of which "the 
Adam was from the North, Latin the Eve." 

As in this line Chocano often shows himself a coiner of 
apt and striking phrases. Referring in a certain poem to 
two ships which meet at night, he writes, "Both crews 
spoke the language of Spain. Oh language of Utopian 
land!" In a sonnet in which he describes the character- 
istics of the Latin American as inheritances from many 
races living in a tropical environment, he calls them "Lo- 
curas del sol" (Mad pranks of the sun). 

Chocano's gift is the ability to see the essence beneath 
the superficial and set it forth in rhythmic phrase decked 
with such fitting adjectives or metaphor that the reader 
is held a thrall with admiration. This is especially true 
of the series of poems on the cities of Spanish America; 
Buenos Aires, Ciudad moderna, the symbol of progress, 
Lima, Ciudad colonial (Provincia de Indias) the symbol of 
past grandeur, and Ciudad dormida, the symbol of sluggish 
tropical indolence. 

The broad outlook of Chocano*s poems distinguishes 


them from those of his predecessors, the criollo poets and 
novelists of Venezuela and his followers who have been 
incited to sing the beauties or marvels of their own coun- 
tries. Especially in Chile young poets who had imitated 
Dario turned for inspiration to the sea and the mountains, 
the fertile meadows and the treastire-laden mines. Diego 
Duble Urrutia's volume Del Mar a la Montana gave 
promise of a rival to Chocano but the Chilean ceased to 
compose verses. 

The Colombian Guillermo Valencia is Chocano's great- 
est rival, if it is possible to put together two poets whose 
respective styles are at opposite poles. In contrast to 
Chocano's exuberance, Valencia is sober and austere. 
His long symbolistic and sociological poem Anarkos, was 
one of the first to draw the attention of Spanish America 
to Valencia. The depth of conception in this poem showed 
that he was a thinker to be reckoned with, a fact amply 
demonstrated again in his capital poem Ciguenas Blancas. 
After describing the flight of a band of white storks, it 
makes these beautiful birds the symbol of human ideals. 
In more recent work Valencia has taken certain Colombian 
cities for the source of his inspiration. Popayan, for 
example, with its blood-written historic past, with its 
wind-swept climate and its girdle of towering mountains 
is a fit subject for his austere muse. The dazzling white 
light of the sun in the zenith above this equatorial city 
and the gray tones of its landscape are reflected in Valen- 
cia's lines. 

The more thoughtful element among the modem poets 
is represented also by the Mexican Enrique Gonzalez 
Martinez. He advises "to wring the neck of the swan," 


that symbol of the decorative conception of life, and "to 
consider the wise owl whose eye interprets the mysterious 
book of nocturnal silence." Herein is a return to the old 
classic value set upon the contemplative life. 

The importance of the modemista movement lies in 
its universality. Writers in all Spanish-speaking countries 
have been influenced by it, including Spain. And its 
effect on prose has been as great as on verse. Here the 
result rhetorically is a breaking up of the long Castilian 
grose period into short sentences connected more by the 
logic of thought than by grammatical particles. More- 
over, the introduction of figures of speech more common 
in verse than in prose contribute by their flashes of imagi- 
nation to lighten the flow of the paragraph. 
r While the origin of this style is sometimes attributed to 
Ruben Dario's Jzuly the influence of Gutierrez Najera 
and of the Cuban Jose Marti should not be forgotten. 
Essentially an orator, Marti filled even his descriptive 
articles written during the eighties for La Nacion of Buenos 
Aires with the fire of his imagination. Dario having them 
for models when he began writing his observations in 
Europe further popularized this sort of prose. Dario's 
numerous books of literary criticism and travel are collec- 
tions of the articles contributed to the newspapers of 

This type of writing is the form which the love of the 
exotic so characteristic of the modemista movement as- 
sumed in prose. Hence have originated innumerable 
books of travel. The most assiduous producer of them 
has been Enrique Gomez Carrillo. Though a native of )< 
Guatemala, he has lived in the colony of Spanish Amer- 


icans in Paris, when not traveling in Russia or China in 
search of material for his journalistic work. 

Another important writer of modemista prose is the 

< Colombian Jose Maria Vargas Vila. Primarily a journalist 
he has reprinted in book form the immense bulk of his 
animadversions on all manner of topics. Whether classi- 
fied as history, tales, literary or political criticism, his 
writings are much the same sort of mental and verbal 
gymnastics. To heighten the originality of his eccen- 
tricity, he has revised the accepted code of punctuation 
by substituting for the period, the colon and semicolon, 
and printing with capital letters only proper names and 
the beginning of important paragraphs. He writes at 
times with gripping power and interest. The effect which 
he produces on his readers is thus characterized by R. 
Blanco Fombona: "There is in his charming disorder a 
strict cohesion and a unity of critical judgment." 

The literary essay discussing aestheti cs or p hilosophy 
has always had a^ublic m Spanish America. The fore- 
most modemista writers in this branch of literature are 
the Venezuelan Manuel Diaz Rodriguez, author of several 
novels, and the Uruguayan Jose^ Enrique Rodo.^ While 

< Diaz Rodriguez' aesthetic discussions in Confidencias de 
Psiquis and Camino de Perfeccion are widely read and 

yc admired, Rgdo by his Ariel and El Mirador de Prospero 
is considered so much the inheritor of Bello's philosophical 
preeminence that he has been hailed as the "intellectual 
director of an epoch." 

Though the innumerable Spanish-American books on 
political affairs lie outside the scope of this work, one 
naturally thinks of the relations between Anglo-Saxon and 


Latin America and of their future. Chocano's views set 
forth in his poems are none too popular. On the contrary, 
there is a constant agitation against the United States. 
Nevertheless this attitude of distrust diminishes with the 
distance from the United States, and seems to be kept 
alive mainly by self-seeking agitators. 

It is impossible for the average North American to feel 
that there is any likelihood of aggression by the United 
States on our Southern neighbors. We regret the dis- 
orders so frequently occurring in some of the more back- 
ward countries, but we positively know that we are en- 
gaged in no secret machinations against their freedom. 

As to the future it seems evident that the two Americas 
will develop along the natural lines of racial cleavage. 
Their differences will be reflected in their literatures. The 
writers of Latin America will be likely as in the past to 
follow the changes in form of European literature, while 
supplying the matter from the details of their own environ- 
ment. As the language spoken by the millions who will 
inhabit the Southern continent must necessarily be 
Spanish or Portuguese, their form of culture will be pre- 
dominantly Latin in type. Thus they are apparently 
predestined to be the standard bearers in the new world 
of the classic ideals of beauty and literary form. 


The names of only those books most useful to the student 
are given here. In many cases the best sources for more detailed 
study are the periodicals mentioned in the text. For an incom- 
plete but working list of authors and their productions, see 
Coester, Alfred. A Bibliography of Spanish-American Literature 
in Romantic Review, Vol. Ill, No. i. 
For a general review of Spanish-American literature, consult 
the following books: 

Menendez y Pelayo, Marcelino. Historia de la Poesia Hispano- 
americana, Madrid, 191 3. This is a revision by the author 
of his introduction to the Antologia de Poetas hispano- 
americanosy edicion de la Academia espanola, Madrid, 1893. 
(This history and anthology cover all Spanish America; 
but as the author admitted consideration of only those poets 
who died before the year 1892 with scant mention of works 
in prose, the book, despite its indispensability, is unsatis- 
Torres Caicedo, Jose Maria. Ensayos hiogrdficosy 3 vols., Paris, 
1863 and 1868. (These are useful and interesting sketches 
of authors prominent before the date of publication with 
extracts from their works.) 
Valera, Juan. Cartas americanas (two series), Madrid, 1889, 
1890. (Criticisms of Spanish-American literature contem- 
porary with the date of publication.) 
Sosa, Francisco. Escritores y Poetas sud-americanos, Mexico, 

Garcia Calderon, Francisco. Les Democraties latines de 
Amerique, Paris, 191 2. English translation entitled, Latin 
merica; its rise and progress y London, 1913. (The best 
rief account of political conditions in Spanish America 
during the nineteenth century.) 


Chapter I 

Ercilla y Zuniga, Alonso. La Araucana. Morceaux choisis par 

J. Ducamin, Paris, 1900. 
Medina, Jose Toribio. Historia de la Literatura colonial de Chile. 

Santiago, 1882. 
Hills, E. C. The Quechua Drama Ollantd. In Romantic Review^ 

Vol. V, No. 2. 
Gutierrez, Juan Maria. Estudios biogrdficos y criticos sobre 

algunos Poetas anteriores al Sigh XIX, Buenos Aires, 1865. 

Chapter II 

Garcia Velloso, Enrique. Historia de la Literatura argentine, 
Buenos Aires, 1914. 

El Cancionero -popular in the Revista de Derecho^ Historia, y 
Letras, Vols. I to XIV, Buenos Aires, 1898 fF. 

Gutierrez, Juan Maria. Various articles in La Revista de Buenos 
Aires, and La Revista del Rio de la Plata. 

Pineyro, Enrique. Biografias americanas, Paris. 

Amunategui, Miguel Luis. La Alborada poetica en Chile, San- 
tiago, 1892. 

Amunategui, Miguel Luis. La Vida de don Andres Bello, San- 
tiago, 1882. 

Canete, Manuel. Escritores hispano-americanos, Madrid, 1884. 
(About Olmedo.) 

Blanco Fombona, Rufino. Autores americanos juzgados por es' 
panoles, Paris, 191 2. (Contains reprint of Caflete's essay 
on Olmedo and extracts from Menendez y Pelayo.) 

Blanco Fombona, Rufino. Cartas de Bolivar, Paris, 191 3. 

Chapter III 

Heredia, Jose Maria de. Poesias, New York, 1875. Edition 
with introductory study by A. Bachiller y Morales. 

Chacon y Calvo, Jose Maria. Jose Maria Heredia, in Cuba 
contemporanea for June and July, 1915. 


Pimentel, Francisco. Historia critica de la Literatura en Mexico, 

Mexico, 1883. 
Gonzalez Obregon, Luis. Jose Joaquin Fernandez de Lizardi. 
Poetas Yucatecos y Tabasquenos, Mexico, 1861. 

Chapter IV 

Nuestro Parnaso, coleccibn de poesias argentinas, 4 vols., ed. by 

E. Barreda, Buenos Aires, 1914. 
Garcia Velloso, Enrique. Historia de la Literatura Argentina, 

Buenos Aires, 1914. 
Garcia Merou, Martin. Recuerdos literarios, Buenos Aires, 1891. 
Groussac, Pablo. El Viaje intelectual, Madrid, 1904. 

" " Ed{toTo{LaBiblioteca,i8g6-gSy Buenos Aires. 

Oyuela, Calixto. Apuntes de Literatura argentina, Buenos Aires, 

Page, F. M. English translation of Fausto in Publications of 

Mod. Lang. Association, Vol. XI, pp. 1-62. 
Quesada, Ernesto. Resehas y Criticas, Buenos Aires, 1893. 

Chapter V 

Roxlo, Carlos. Historia critica de la Literatura Uruguaya, 

Montevideo, 191 2. 
Bauza, Francisco. Estudios literarios, Montevideo, 1885. 

Chapter VI 

Antologia Chilena. Col. by P. P. Figueroa, Santiago, 1908. 
Antologia de Poetas chilenos. Col. by E. Donoso, Madrid, 1910. 
Amunategui, M. L., opera citata: also 

Las primeras Representaciones dramdticas en Chilf, Santiago, 

Don Jose Joaquin de Mora, Santiago, 1888. 
Juicio critico de algunos poetas hispano-americanos, San- 
tiago, 1859. 
Ensayos biogrdficos, Santiago, 1893-96. 


Don Salvador Sanfuentes^ Santiago, 1892. 
Eliz, Leonardo. Siluetas liricas y hiogrdficas, Santiago, 1889. 
Figueroa, P. P. Diccionario biogrdfico, Santiago, 1892. 
Huneeus Gana, Jorge. Cuadro histbrico de la Produccion inteUct- 

ual de Chile y Santiago, 19 12. 
Lastarria, Jose Victorino. Recuerdos liter arios, Santiago, 1878. 
Pena, Nicolas. Teatro dramdtico nacionaly Santiago, 1913. 
Silva, L. Ignacio. La Novela en Chiky Santiago, 1910. 
Donoso, Armando. Los Nuevos {La joven Literatura chilena), 

Valencia, 191 2. 

Chapter VII 

Garcia Calderon, Ventura. Del Romanticismo al Modernismo, 

Paris, 1910. 
Poetas Bolivianos. Col. by P. Molina and E. Finot. 

Chapter VIII 

Antologia ecuatoriana. Col. by the Academia del Ecuador, 
Quito, 1892. 

Mera, Juan Leon. Ojeada histbrico-critica sobre la Poesia ecua- 
toriana, Quito, 1868. 

Chapter IX 

Antologia colombiana. Col. by E. Isaza, Paris, 1895. 

Parnaso colombiano. Col. by J. Anez with preface by J. Rivas 

Groot, Bogota, 1886. 
Laverde Amaya, I. Apuntes sobre bibliografia colombiana con 

muestras escogidas, Bogota, 1889. 
Arboleda, Julio. Poesias, with introduction by M. A. Caro, 

New York, 1883. 
Gutierrez Gonzalez, Gregorio. Poesias, with introduction by 

S. Camacho Roldan, R. Pombo and others, Paris, 1908. 
Vergara y Vergara, J. M. Historia de la Literatura en Nueva 

Granada, 1538-1820, Bogota, 1867. 


Chapter X 

Parnaso venezolano. 12 vols. pub. by J. Calcano, Caracas, 

Picon Febres, Gonzalo. La LiUratura venezolana en el Sigh 

XIX, Caracas, 1906. 

Chapter XI 

Antologia de Poetas mexicanos. Pub. by the Academia mex., 

Mexico, 1894. 
Conferencias del Ateneo de la Juventud, Mexico, 1910. 
Biblioteca de Autores mexicanos, about 75 volumes various dates, 

in which may be found articles on literature in the works of 

V. Agiieros, I. Altamirano, J. M. Roa Barcena and the 

introductions of others. 
Gonzalez Obregon, Luis. Novelisias mexicanos en el Siglo 

Starr, Frederick. Readings from Modern Mexican Authors, 

Chicago, 1904. 
Las cien me j ores Poesias (liricas) mejicanas, Mexico, 1 91 4. 

Chapter XII 

Arpas cubanas. La Habana, 1904. 

Parnaso cubano. Col. by A. Lopez Prieto, 1881. 

Bachiller y Morales, A. Apuntes para la historia de las Leiras 

y de la Instruccibn publica en Cuba, La Habana, 1859. 
Calcagno, Francisco. Diccionario biogrdfico cubano. La Habana, 

Calcagno, Francisco. Poetas de Color, H. 1887. 
Mityans, Aurelio. Estudio sobre el movimiento cientifico y literario 

de Cuba, H. 1890. 
Pineyro, Enrique. Vida y Escritos de Juan Clemente Zenea^ 

Paris, 1901. 
Pineyro, Enrique. Biografias americanas, Paris. 

" " Hombres y Glorias de America, Paris. 


Chapter XIII 

Antologia dominicana. Col. by P. Henriquez Urena and M. F. 

Cestero, New York. 
Henriquez Ureiia, Pedro. Horas de Estudioy Paris, 1909. 
Hostos, Eugenio M. Meditando, Paris. 
Antologia puertorriquena. Col. by M. Fernandez Juncos, New 

York, 1907. 
Fernandez Juncos, Manuel. Semhlanzas puertorriquenos, P. R. 

Lira c star ric ens e. Col. by M. Fernandez, San Jose, C. R. 1890. 
Honduras literaria. Col. by R. E. Duron, Tegucigalpa, 1896. 
Guirnalda salvadorena. Col. by R. Mayorga Rivas, San Salvador, 

LugarehaSy antologia. Col. by C. A. Imendia, San Salvador, 1895. 
Batres Jauregui, A. Liter atos guatemaltecos, Guatemala, 1896. 

Chapter XIV 

Blanco Fombona, Rufino. Letras y Letrados de Hispano-Americaj 

Paris, 1908. 
Blanco Fombona, Rufino, In La Revista de America^ Paris, 

1912 fF., various arricles. 
Gonzalez Blanco, Andres. Estudio preliminar to the Obras 

escogidas of Ruben Dario, 3 vols., Madrid, 1910. 
Gonzalez Blanco, Andres. Introduction to Fiat Lux, select 

poems of J. S. Chocano, Paris, 1908. 
Gutierrez Najera, Manuel. Poesias with introduction by Justo 

Sierra, Paris, 1896. 
Meza, Ramon. Julian del Casal, Estudio biografico, Habana, 



(In this index names of periodicals are printed in Italics; pen 
names, popular titles, catchwords, et cetera, are indicated by 
quotation marks.) 

Acevedo Diaz, Eduardo, 187 
Achd, Francis X. de, 174 
Acosta, Cecilio, 315 
Acosta, Joaquin, 300 
Acosta de Samper, Soledad, 

290, 300 
Acuna, Manuel, 350 
Acuiia de Figueroa, Francisco, 

"Adolfo de la Azucena" see 

J. C. Zenea, 409 
Agramonte, Ignacio, 423 
Agiieros, Victoriano, 357 
Alamln, Lucas, 356 
'Alberdi, Juan Bautista, 121 
Album, El, 308 
Aldao, Martin, 168 
Alderete, Ger6nimo de, 7 
Alfonso, Jose Luis, 377 
"alh6ndiga de granaditas," 80 
Allende, Ignacio, 80 
Alonso, Manuel A., 440 
Alpuche, Wenceslao, 84 
Altamirano, Ignacio Manuel, 

345 ff. 
Althaus, Clemente, 250 
Alvarez, Francisco, 443 

Alvdrez de F16rez, Mercedes, 

Alvirez de Toledo, Hernando, 

Alv&rez de Velasco y Zorrilla, 

Francisco, 29 
Alvear, Carlos de, 53 
"Amarilis," 21 
America Poilica, 123 
Amezaga, Carlos de, 253 
Amiga del Pueblo, El, 210 
Amun&tegui, Gregorio Victor, 

Amundtegui, Miguel Luis, 241 
Amy, Francisco Javier, 443 
Andrade, Olegario Victor, 154 
Andrade Coello, Alejandro, 272 
Angulo Guridi, Javier, 433 
Aniceto el Gallo, 139 
"Antioco" see G. Gutierrez 

Gonzdles, 285 
Arag6n, Joaquin, 448 
Arango y Escanddn, Alejandro, 

.Araucano, El, 197 
Arboleda, Julio, 278 ff. 
Argerich, Antonio, 164 




ArgiieUo, Santiago, 449 
Ariosto, Ludovico de, 6 
"Arona, Juan de" see P. Paz 

Sold^n, 251 
Arpas Cubanas, 429 
Arrascaeta, Enrique de, 174 
Arreguine, Victor, 185 
Arteaga Alemparte, Domingo, 

Arteaga Alemparte, Justo, 215 
Asbaje y Ramirez de Cantillana, 

Juana Ines (Sor Juana)v26 
Ascasubi, Hilario, 137 
"Asociaci6n de Mayo," 1 11, 123 
Aureola Poitica, 376 
Aurora de Chile, 50 
Avalos y Figueroa, Diego de, 22 
Azcarate, Nicolas, 406 

Bachiller y Morales, Antonio, 

Balbuena, Bernardo de, 20 
Balcarce, Florencio, 107 
Baldorioty de Castro, Rom^, 

Banchs, Enrique, 160 
Baralt, Rafael Maria, 306 
Barco Centenera, Martin del, 16 
Barra, Eduardo de la, 221 
Barra, Emma la, 167 
Barrenechea y Albis, Fray 

Juan de, 14 
Barros Arana, Diego, 241 
Barros Grez, Daniel, 231 
Bastidas, Antonio, 22 
Batres y Montufar, Jos6 de, 446 
Bauz4, Francisco, 170, 186 

Bedoya, Manuel, 261 
Belgrano, Manuel, 43 
Bello, Andres, 72, 197 ff. 
Bello, Carlos, 200 
Bello, Francisco, 199 
Bello, Juan, 200 
Belmonte, Luis de, 19 
Belzu, Manuel, 257 
Benitez, Alejandrina, 439 
Bermudez, Pedro P., 172 
Bermtidez, Washington P., 181 
Bernal, Juan Jose, 448 
Bernardez, Manuel, 190 
Berro, Adolfo, 172 
Berro, Bernardo Prudencia, 174 
Biblioteca, La, 165 
Biblioteca americana. La, 74 
Bilbao, Francisco, 209, 221 
Bilbao, Manuel, 224 
Billini, Francisco Gregorio, 435 
Blanco, Eduardo, 324 
Blanco Cuartin, Manuel, 216 
Blanco Fombona, Rufino, 327 
Blanco White, Jose, 74 
"^^lest Gana, Alberto, 224 flf. 

-*Blest Gana, Guillermo, 211 
Blixen, Samuel, 192 

-JBocanegra, Matias de, 25 
Bolet Peraza, Nicanor, 317 
Bolivar, Rafael, 327 
Bolivar, Sim6n, 61, 64, 67 
Borda, Jose Joaquin, 290 
B6rquez Solar, Antonio, 222 
Borrero Echeverria, Esteban, 

Borrero de Lujin, Dulce Maria, 



Brickies, Rene, 236 
Brieba, Liborio E., 230 
Bunge, Carlos Antonio, 168 
Bustamente, Carlos M., 356 
Busto, Jose G. del, 182 

Cabello de Carbonero, Mer- 
cedes, 259 
Cabrero Malo, Rafael, 326 
Caicedo Rojas, Jose, 289 
Calcaiio, Eduardo, 316 
Calcano, Jose Antonio, 311 
Calcano, Julio, 324 
Caldas, Francisco Jose, 34 
Calder6n, Fernando, 337 
Calleja del Rey, Felix, 81 
Calvo, Daniel, 262 
Camagiieyano, "El," see A. 

Mityans, 419 
Cambaceres, Eugenio, 162 
Campo, Estanislao del, 141 
Campos, Francisco, 272 
Cancionero de Borinquen, 439 
Canovas del Castillo, Antonio, 

Cafias, Juan Jos6, 448 
Cinete, Manuel, 66 
Caro, Jose Eusebio, 275 
Caro, Miguel Antonio, 283, 291 
Carpio, Juan del, 260 
Carpio, Manuel, 339 
Carrasquilla, Ricardo, 290, 292 
Carrasquilla, Tomas, 303 
Carrera, the brothers, 50, 51, 52 
Cartas de relacibn, 3 
Casal, Julian del, 453 
Castellanos, Jesus, 428 

Castellanos, Juan de, 15 
Castilla, Ram6n, 244 
Castillo, Manuel, 249 
Censor americano, El, 446 
"Cesar Duayen" see Emma de 

la Barra, 167 
C6spedes, Carlos Manuel de, 

Cestero, Manuel F., 437 
Cestero, Tulio M., 437 
Cetina, Gutierre de, 20 
Cha^^ Jacinto, 207 
Charivari, El, 21$ 
Chavero, Alfredo, 360 
Chipazo, El, 2 $2 
"chipazos," 246 
Chocano, Jose Santos, 469 ff. 
Cisneros, Baltasar de, 43 
Cisneros, Luis Benjamin, 253 
Cochrane, Thomas, Earl of 

Dundonald, 54 
Cojo ilustrado, El, ^27 
Coll, Pedro Emilio, 333 
Concha Castillo, Francisco A., 

Conde de la Granja, 19 
Conte, F. A., 423 
Conto, Cesar, 296 
Contreras, Francisco, 222 
Corchado, Manuel, 442 
Cordero, Luis, 269 
Coronado, Martin, 147 
Corpancho, Manuel Nicolis, 

Correo del Domingo, El, 120 
Correo de Mexico, El, 346 
Correo del Perii, El, 258 



Cortina, Jose Antonio, 417 
Cosmdpolis, 326, 466 
Cruz, La, 341 
Cruz, Manuel de la, 423 
Cruz, Pedro Nolasco, 234 
Cuatro LaMes, 395 
Cuba Contempordnea, 429 
Cuba y America, 429 
"Cuculambe El," see J. C. 

Napoles Fajardo, 402 
Cuenca, Agustin F., 350 
Cuenca, Claudio Mamerto, 117 
Cuervo, Rufino Jose, 303 
Cueva, Juan de la, 32 

• Dario, Rub6n, 221, 445, 450 ff., 

458 ^ 

Dario Maldonado, Samuel, 323 
Delgado, Rafael, 367 
Deligne, Gaston F., 437 
Deligne, Rafael A., 437 
Del Monte, Domingo, 376, 

377, 381 
Del Monte, Felix Maria, 432 
Diaz, Eugenio, 290, 291 
Diaz, Jose de Jesus, 342 
Diaz, Leopoldo, 466 
Diaz, Porfirio, 357 
Diaz Covarrubias, Juan, 343 
-Diaz Mir6n, Salvador, 365, 

Diaz Rodrfguez, Manuel, 332 
Diaz Romero, Eugenio, 160 
Dieguez, Juan, 447 
Dominici, Pedro C€sar, 326 
Dominguez, Luis L., 120 
Dominguez, Manuel, 356 

Dominguez Camargo, Her- 
nando, 22 
"Don Julio" see J. Arboleda, 

Duarte, Juan Pablo, 431 
Duble Urrutia, Diego, 223 
"Duque Job, El," see M. 
Gutierrez Najera, 364 

Echeverria, Aquileo J., 449 
Echeverria, Esteban, 107JE. 
Echeverria, Jose AiitGfiio, 376 
"Edda" see R. Pombo, 296 
El Espanol, 74 
El Espectador, 267 
Eliz, Leonardo, 222 
Encina, Carlos, 151 
Ercilla y Ztiniga, Alonso de, 6 
Errazuriz, Isidore, 209 
Esc6iquiz, Juan de, 17 
Espejo, A. C, 238 
Espejo de mi Tierra, 247 
Espinosa Medrano, Juan de, 23 
Espinosa de Rend6n, Silveria, 

Esquilache, Prince of, 21 
Estrella nacional, La, 275 
Evia, Jacinto de, 22 

Fajardo, Heraclio C, 175 
Fallon, Diego, 294 
Fernandez Juncos, Manuel, 443 
Fernandez de Lizardi, Jos6 

Joaquin, 87 
Fernandez Madrid, Jos6, 69 
Fiallo, Fabio, 437 



'--Figaro, El, 429 
Figarola Caneda, Domingo, 

383, note 
Flores, Juan Jose, 69 
Flares, Manuel Maria, 343 
Fombona Palacio, Manuel, 322 
Fomaris, Jose, 400 
Foxa, Narciso de, 432, 440 
Fragueiro, Rafael, 185 
Francisca Josefa de la Concep- 

ci6n, 29 
Frias y Soto, Hilari6n, 356 
Funes, Gregorio, 47 

Gaceta de Buenos Aires, La, 43 
Gaceta de Caracas, La, 305 
Gagini, Carlos, 449 
Galindo, Francisco E., 448 
Galindo, Nestor, 262 
Gallego, Juan Nicasio, 378 
Gallegos del Campo, Emilio, 

Gallegos Naranjo, Emilio, 272 
Galvin, Manuel de Jesus, 435 
Galvez, Jose, 260 
Galvez, Manuel, 160 
Gamboa, Federico, 370 
Garay, Juan de, 16 
Garcia, Manuel Adolfo, 252 
Garcia, Quintiliano, 397 
Garcia Calder6n, Francisco, 261 
Garcia Calder6n, Ventura, 248 
Garcia Godoy, Federico, 437 
Garcia Goyena, 75 
Garcia Icazbalceta, Joaquin, 

Garcia Merou, Martin, 159 

Garcia Moreno, Gabriel, 265 
Garcia de Quevedo, Jose Heri- 

berto, 308 
Garcia del Rio, 74 
Garcilaso de la Vega, the 

Inca, 4 
Garriga, Pablo, 220 
Gautier, Arce, 439 
Gautier Benitez, Jose, 439 
Gil Fortoul, Jose, 325 
Godoy, Juan Gualberto, 61 
G6mez, Juan Carlos, 173 
G6mez, Juan Vicente, 329 
G6mez, Maximo, 426, 436 
G6mez de Avellaneda, Ger- 

trudis, 405 
G6mez Carrillo, Enrique, 473 
G6mez Restrepo, Antonio, 298 
Gonzalez, Arevalo, 326 
Gonzalez, Juan Vicente, 312 
Gonzalez, Pedro Antonio, 222 
Gonzdlez Camargo, Joaquin, 

Gonzalez de Eslava, Feman, 32 
Gonzalez Martinez, Enrique, 

Gonzalez Obreg6n, Luis, 356 
Gonzalez Prada, Manuel, 254 

"Goodman, H.," 414 
Gorostiza, Manuel Eduardo de, 

Gorriti de Belzu, Juana Man- 

uela, 161, 257 
Granadino, El, 275 
Grez, Vicente, 232 
"grito de Dolores," 80 
Groussac, Paul, 164 

488 INDEX 

Guardia, HeraClio de la, 319 Huneeus Gana, Jorge, 242 

"guajiros," 378 Hurtado de Mendoza, Andres, 

Guerrero, Vicente, 82 7, 11 

Guido y Spano, Carlos, 152 Hurtado de Mendoza, Garcia, 

Gutierrez, Eduardo, 146 7, 10, 11 

Gutierrez, Juan Maria, 123 

Gutierrez, Ricardo, 139 Inttrprete, JE^, 246 

Gutierrez Coll, Jacinto, 322 Irisarri, Antonio Jose de, 74, 

Gutierrez Gonzalez, Gregorio, 207, 445 

284 Irisarri, Herm6genes de, 207 

Gutierrez Najera, Manuel, 363, -Isaacs, Jorge, 300, 302 

452 Iturbide, Agustin de, 82 

Guzman Blanco, Antonio, 318 Ixtlilxochitl, Fernando de Alva, 

Habana elegante, La, 454 

Habanera, El, 374 Jaimes Freyre, Ricardo, 263, 

Henriquez, Camilo, 50, 58 466 

Henriquez y Carvajal, Federico, Jimenez de Quesada, Gonzalo, 

436 273 

Henriquez y Carvajal, Fran- "Jotabeche" see J. J. Vallejo, 

Cisco, 434 200 

Henriquez Ureiia, Max, 428, Juarez, Benito, 344 

438 "juegos florales," 151 
Henriquez Urena, Pedro, 32, 

362, 438 Labarca Hubertson, Guillermo, 

V Heredia, Jose Maria, 90 ff. 238 

Hernandez, Domingo Ram6n, Labarden, Manuel Jose de, 37 

314 ~' "laborantes," 414 

Hemindez, Jose, 143 Lafinur, Juan Cris6stomo, 59 

Hernandez, Pedro Jos6, 317 Landivar, Rafael, 28, 445 

Hernandez Miyares, Enrique, Lapuente, Laurindo, 179 

429 Larriva, Jose Joaquin, 56 

Herrera y Reissig, Julio, 468 Las Casas, Fray Bartolom6 

Hidalgo, Bartolom6, 60 de, 3 

Hidalgo, Manuel, 80 Lasso de la Vega, Gabriel, 17 

Hqjas Literarias, 391, 424 Lastarria, Jose Victorino, 200, 

Hostos, Eugenio Maria, 442 212 



Lathrop, Carlos, 216 
Lavalle, General Juan, iii 
Lazo Marti, Francisco, 323 
Leguizam6n, Martiniano P., 

Lens, Benjamin, 262 
"Liberator" see Sim6n Bolivar, 

"libres de Cuzco," 259 
La Lira argentina, 57 
Lillo, Baldomero, 238 
Lillo, Eusebio, 210 
Lillo, Samuel A., 223 
Liniers, Jacques de, 41, 42 
La Linkrna del Diablo, 215 
Lira, Martin Jos6, 213 
Lista, Alberto, 244, 377 
Llona, Numa Pompilio, 268 
L6pez, Jose H., 279 
L6pez, Lucio V., 164 
L6pez, Narcisco, 393 
L6pez, Vicente Fidel, 121, 

L6pez de Brinas, Felipe, 396 
L6pez Jordan, 131 
L6pez Mendez, Luis, 333 
L6pez y Planes, Vicente, 42, 

L6pez Portillo y Rojas, Jos6, 

Lozano, Abigail, 308, 310 
Luaces, Joaquin Lorenzo, 403 
Luca, Esteban de, 57 
Lugo, Americo, 437 
Lugones, Leopoldo, 467 ff. 
Luz y Caballero, Jos6 de la, 

407 ff. 

-^achado, Rafael, 449 
Maciel, Santiago, 186 
Madiedo, Manuel Maria, 293 
"Madre Castillo," 29 
Magallanes Moure, Manuel, 

Magarinos Cervantes, Alejan- 
dro, 176 
Magarinos Solsona, Mateo, 190 
Maitin, Jose Antonio, 308 
Maldonado, Alfonso M., 356 
Mann, Horace, 132 
Manrique, Jos6 Maria, 324 
Mansilla de Garcia, Eduarda, 

Manzano, Jose Francisco, 377 
Maria Cristina, queen regent, 

Marin de Solar, Mercedes, 207 
Mark ham, Clements R., 46 
Marmol, Jose, 114 
Marquez, Jose Amaldo, 250 
Marroquin, Jose Maria, 291 
Marroquin, Lorenzo, 303 
Marti, Jose, 320, 4245., 473 
Martinez, Juan Francisco, 42 
Martinez, Saturnino, 406 
Martinez Campos, General 

Arsenio, 417 
Martinez de la Rosa, Francisco, 

Martinez Villergas, Juan, 129 
Martinto, Domingo, 159 
Martir Hbre, El, 49 
Mas y Pi, Juan, 160 
Mata, Andres, 323 
Mateos, Juan Antonio, 354 



Matta, Giiillermo, 213 
Matto de Turner, Clorinda, 258 
Maximilian of Austria, 345 
Maziel, Juan Baltasar, 36 
"mazhorca," 106 
Medina, Jose Toribio, 12, 242 
Melian Lafinur, Alvaro, 160 
MeKan Lafinur, Luis, 182 
Melgar, Mariano, 55 
Mendez, Gervasio, 158 
Mendive, Rafael Maria, 395, 

Mendoza, Daniel, 316 
Mendoza, Juan de, 12 
Men6ndez y Pelayo, Marcelino, 

ix, 18, 64, 76, 102, 112, 123, 

201, 286, 446 
Merchdn, Rafael, 410, 413 
Mer curio chileno, El, 196 
Mer curio peruano, £/, 35 
Mer curio de Valparaiso, El, 118 
Mera, Juan Le6n, 270 
Merio de la Fuente, Luis, 14 
Mexia, Diego, 22 
Meza, Ram6n, 423 
Michelena, Tom^, 325 
Milanes, Jose Jacinto, 379 fif. 
Milla, Jose, 447 
Minvielle, Rafael, 200 
Miranda, General Francisco de, 

Misdforo, El, 278 
Mitre, Adolf o, 159 
Mitre, Bartolom6, viii, 117 fif. 
Mitre, Julio E., 159 
Mityans, Aurelio, 419 
Molinillo, El, 174 

Montalvo, Juan, 266 
Monteagudo, Bernardo de, 49 
Montes Victoriano E., 180 
Montes del VaUe, Agripina, 299 
Montt, Ambrosio, 219 
Montt, Enrique, 234 
Montt, Luis, 242 
Montt, Manuel, 126 
Mora, Jose Jeaquin de, 196 
Morales Lemus, Jos6, 415 
Moratorio, Orosman, 180 
Morelos, Jose Maria, 81 
Moreno, Mariano, 43 
Moreno Cora, Silvestre, 368 
Mosaico, El, 290 
Mota, Felix, 433 
Mujer, La, 300 
Munoz, Gabriel E., 322 
Muiioz del Monte, Francisco, 

Murillo, Valentin, 234 
Mutis, Jose Celestino, 34 

Nacibn, La, 120 

Napoles Fajardo, Juan Cris- 

t6bal, 402 
Navarrete, Fray Manuel de, 33 
Navarro Viola, Alberto, 159 
Navarro Viola, Miguel, 160 
Negro Timoteo, El, 181 
"neo-espafiol," 466 
Nervo, Amado, 469 
Netzahualcoyotl, 340 
"Nigromante, El," 346 
Nosotros, 160 
"Nuestra Seiiora de Guade- 

lupe," 25 



Ntifiez de Caceres, J. M., 317 
Nunez, Rafael, 294 
Nunez de Pineda y Bascunan, 
Francisco, 14 

ObKgado, Rafael, 145, 148 
Ocampo, Luis S., 159 
Ocantos, Carlos Maria, 165 
Ochoa y Acuna, Anastasio de, 

O'Donaju, Juan, 83 
O'Donnell, LeopoWo, 392 
O'Higgins, Bernardo, 52, 59 
(H)Ojeda, Fray Diego de, 18 
Olmedo, Jose Joaquin, 64 
■Ollantd, 30 
Ona, Pedro de, 10 
Onate, Juan de, 15 
Orihuela Grez, Borja, 235 
Orozco y Berra, Fernando, 353 
Orrego Luco, Luis, 237 
Orrego de Uribe, Rosario, 215 
Ortega, Francisco, 86 
Ortiz, Jose Joaquin, 275, 286 
"Ostend manifesto," 394 
Oth6n, Manuel Jose, 362 
Oviedo y Herrera, Luis Antonio, 

Oyuela, Calixto, 150, 151 

Pacheco, Emilio, 449 
Pacheco, Ram6n, 231 
Pacheco y Obes, Melchor, 179 
Pagaza, Joaquin Arcadio, 362 
Palma, Clemente, 260 
Palma, Martin, 228 
Palma, Ricardo, 254 ff. 

Palma y Romay, Ram6n de, 391 
Palomeque, Alberto, 189 
Papel periddico, El, 89 
Papel periddico ilustrado, Ely 290 
Pardo, Francisco Guaycaj^uro, 

Pardo, Manuel, 244 
Pardo, Miguel Eduardo, 332 
Pardo y Aliaga, Felipe, 244 
Parra, Porfirio, 369 
Patria, La, 421 
Payno, Manuel, 352 
Payr6, Roberto J., 168 
Paz Solddn y Undnue, Pedro, 

Pellerano Castro, Arturo, 437 
"pelucones," 208 
...iipensador Mexicano, El," see 

Fernandez de Lizardi, 87 
Penson, C^sar NicolS,s, 435 
Pe6n y Contreras, Jose, 356 flF. 
Peralta y Bamuevo, Pedro de, 

P6rez, Felipe, 288 
Perez, Francisco de Sales, 317 
Perez, Jos6 Joaquin, 434 
Perez, Santiago, 288 
P6rez Bonalde, Juan Antonio, 

319 ff. 
P^rez Nieto, Estanislao, 181 
P6rez Petit, Victor, 192, 193 
Perez Rosales, Vicente, 242 
Perez de Zambrana, Luisa, 395 
Pesado, Jos6 Joaquin, 339 
Peza, Juan de Dios, 361 
Pezuela, General Joaquin de la, 




Pic6n Febres, Gonzalo, 329 iBf. 

Pichardo, Manuel S., 429 

Pimentel, Francisco, 357 

Pimentel Coronel, Manuel, 323 

Pineda, Juan de, 7 

Pinz6n Rico, Jose Maria, 296 

Pineyro, Enrique, 411, 415 ff. 

Pineyro del Campo, Luis, 185 

"pipiolos," 208 

"Pl^cido" see G. de la C. Val- 
des, 385 

"plan de Iguala," 82 

Plantd, El, 376 

Plata cUntifico y literario, El, 

Plaza, Antonio, 351 

Fluma i Ldpiz, 223 

Pombo, Rafael, 296 

Portales, Diego, 207, 208 

Posada, Joaquin Pablo, 295 

Poveda y Armenteros, Fran- 
cisco, 379 

Pozos Dulces, Conde de los, 

Pr^ndez, Pedro Nolasco, 220 
Prieto, Guillermo, 346 
Progreso, El, 127 
Prud'homme, Emilio, 436 
Pueyrred6n, Juan Martin de, 54 
Pumagua, el cacique, 55 

Quesada, Gonzalo de, 426 
Quesada, Ernesto, 165 
Quesada, Vicente G., 120 
Quintana, Manuel Jos6, 375 
Quiroga, Facundo, 127 
Quitana Roo, Andres, 84 

Rabasa, Emilio, 367 
Racamonde, Victor, 323 
Ramirez, General, 55 
Ramirez, Carlos Maria, 187 
Ramirez, Ignacio, 345 
Ramos, Jose Luis, 306 
Repertorio americano, 74 
Restrepo, Jose Manuel, 303 
Revista argentina, La, 120 
Revista azul, La, 364 
Revista bimestre cubana, La, 382, 

Revista de Buenos Aires, La, 124, 

Revista de Cuba, La, 420 
Revista cubana, La, 420 
Revista de la Habana, La, 397 
Revista latina, La, 465 
Revista liter aria, La, 179 
Revista moderna, La, 466 
Revista del Pactfico, La, 212 
Revista del Rio de la Plata, La, 

Revista de Santiago, La, 210 
Revolucidn, La, 411, 414 
Revue sud-americaine. La, 467 
Reyles, Carlos, 190 
Reyna Zeballos, Miguel de, 19 
Riego, Rafael del, 375 
Riquelme, Daniel, 239 
Riva Agiiero, Jos6 de la, 261 
Riva Palacio, Vicente, 354 
Rivadavia, Bernardino, 104 
Rivarola, Pantale6n, 42 
Rivarola, Enrique E., 160 
Rivera Indarte. Jos6, 116 
Roa, Ram6n, 423 



Roa Bdrcena, Jose Maria, 341 
Roca, General Julio, 155 
Rocuant, Miguel, 223 

-yRod6, Jose Enrique, 474 
Rodriguez, Fray Cayetano, 56 
Rodriguez, Jose Ignacio, 423 
Rodriguez Galvan, Ignacio, 335 
Rodriguez Larreta, Enrique, 

Rodriguez Mendoza, Emilio, 

Rodriguez de Ti6, Lola, 443 
Rodriguez Velasco, Luis, 216 
Rojas, Juan Ram6n, 58 
Roldan, Jose Gonzalo, 395, 396 
Romero Garcia, Manuel, 326 

. Rosas, Juan Manuel, 106 
Rosas Moreno, Jose, 348 
Rossel, Ricardo, 252 
Roxlo, Carios, 186 
Rubalcava, Manuel Justo de, 89 
Rueda, Salvador, 365 
Ruiz Araujo, Isaac, 448 

^Ruiz de Alarc6n, Juan, 32 
Ruiz de Le6n, Francisco, 18, 28 

Saavedra Guzman, Antonio de, 

Saco, Jose Antonio, 381 ff., 392 
Saenz Ovecurri, Fray Diego, 19 
Salaverry, Carios Augusto, 250 
Salazar, Jose Maria de, 71 
Salazar, Salvador, 429 
"Salome Gil" see Jose Milla, 

Salterain, Joaquin de, 180 
Samper, Jose Maria, 289 

Sanchez Marmol, Manuel, 355 
Sanchez Pesquera, Miguel, 321 
Sanchez de Tagle, Francisco 

Manuel, 85 
Sanfuentes, Salvador, 202 
Sanguily, Manuel, 391, 424 
San Martin, Jose de, 52 
Santa Cruz y Espejo, Francisco 

Eugenio, 35 
Santibanez, F., 238 
Santistevan Osorio, Diego de, 

-Sarmiento, Domingo Faustino, ^- ^-"^ 
125 ff., 198 
Sassone, Felipe, 261 
Sanz, Miguel Jose, 306 
Segura, Manuel A., 247 
Sellen, Antonio, 417 
Sellen, Francisco, 417 
Semanario literario, El, 199 
Setnanario de la Nueva Granada, 

El, 34 
Sierra, Justo O'unior), 353 
Sierra, Justo (senior), 352 
Sigh, El, 415 
Siguenza y G6ngora, Carlos de, 

^ilva, Jose Asunci6n, 304, 455 ff. 
Silva, Victor Domingo, 223 
Silva de la Fuente, Alejandro, 

"Sim6n Ayanque" see Terralla 

y Landa, 35 
Soffia, Jose Antonio, 218 
Solar, Alberto del, 239 
Solar, Enrique del, 239 
,n Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, 26 



Sosa, Francisco, 357 
Soto y Calvo, Francisco, 145 
Suarez y Romero, Anselmo, 383 
Sucre, Antonio Jose de, 63 
Sucre, Dolores, 272 

Tablada, Juan Jose, 365 
Taboada, Francisco Gil de, 35 
Tac6n, Miguel, 377 
Tapia, Alejandro, 440 
Tejera, Diego Vicente, 419 
Tejera, Felipe, 319 
Teligrafo mercantU , , , del Rio 

de la Plata, 38 
Terralla y Landa, Esteban de, 

Terrazas, Francisco de, 17 
Teurbe de Tol6n, Miguel de, 

Ticknor, George, 124, 382 
Tobar, Carlos R., 272 
Tovar, Pantale6n, 353 
Tondreau, Narciso, 222 
Toro, Fermin, 307 
Torres Arce, Jose Antonio, 216 
Torres Arce, Victor, 217 
Torres Caicedo, Jose Maria, 303 
Tovar, Pantale6n, 353 
Tribuna, La, 155 
^Tupac Amaru, 46 
Tucapelina, 36 

Ugarte, Manuel, 168 
UUoa, Francisco, 230 
•w-Unamuno, Miguel de, 144 
Uninue, Hip61ito, 35 
Urbaneja Achelpohl, Luis, 327 

Urbina, Luis G., 365, 366 
Urena de Mendoza, Nicolas, 432 
Urena de Henriquez, Salome, 

Uribe, Diego, 298 
Urquiza, Justo Jose de, 122, 130 
Usca paucar, 31 
Ustariz, Francisco Javier, 306 

Valderrama, Adolfo, 216 
Valdes, Antonio, 31, 38 
Valdes, Gabriel de la Concep- 

ci6n, 385 ff. 
Valdes Machuca, Ignacio, 376 
Valencia, Guillermo, 472 
Valenzuela, Mario, 296 
Valera, Juan, 156, 157, 183, 271, 

292, 298, 459 
Valle, Juan, 344 
Valle y Caviedes, Juan del, 23 
Vallejo Jose Joaquin, 200 
Valledor Sanchez, Gustavo, 222 
Valmaseda, Conde de, 411 
Valverde, Fray Fernando de, 

Varela, Federico, 220 
Varela, Florencio, 137 
Varela, Juan Cruz, 104 
Varela y Morales, Felix, 374 
Vargas, Moises, 230 
Vargas Tejada, Luis, 71 
Vargas Vila, Jose Maria, 474 
Varona, Enrique Jos6, 419 ff. 
Vdsquez, Honorato, 269 
Veintemilla de Galindo, Do- 
lores, 269 
Velarde, Fernando, 447 



Velasco, Carlos de, 429 

Velasco, Juan de, 29 

Velez y Herrera, Ram6n, 378 

Venegas, Francisco Javier, 81 

Venezolano, El, 311 

Vera y Pintado, Bernardo de, 

Vergara y Vergara, Jose Maria, 

Vertiz, Juan Jose, 36 
Vial, Ram6n, 239 
Viana, Javier de, 190 
Victoria, Guadelupe, 83 
'Vicuna Mackenna, Benjamin, 

Vida Moderna, 189 
Vidarte, Santiago, 439 
Villaverde, Cirilo, 383 
Villagra, Caspar de, 15 
Villalobos, Rosendo, 263 
Voz del Siglo, ia, 407 

Walker Martinez, Carlos, 217 

Xufre del Aguila, Melchor, 13 

"Vara, grito de," 408 
"yaravi," 56, 270 
Yepes, Jose Ram6n, 313 
Yerovi, Leonidas N., 260 

Zaldumbide, Julio, 269 
Zambrana, Ram6n, 395 
"Zanj6n, pacto de," 409 
Zapiola, Jose, 242 
Zayas Enriquez, Rafael de, 365 
Zenea, Juan Clemente, 409 S. 
Zequeira y Arango, Manuel de, 

Zorrilla de San Martin, Juan, 

Zumdrraga, Fray Juan de, 5 
Zumeta, C6sar, 333 

Printed in the United States of Ameiica 

t !•■ 



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